Reflective paint to reduce the temperature by 4-5 degree, more desert coolers, drinking water facility and rescue teams -- the Delhi government has finally woken up to the plight of homeless in Delhi.
For the first time, the Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB) has prepared a summer action plan for those living in the shelters for the homeless.
The decision to ramp up facilities was taken after a homeless man was killed and three others suffered injuries when they were run over by a speeding car at Yamuna Bazar.
“After the Incident, we had a meeting with the shelter management authority and it was decided that on lines of out winter action plan, a summer action plan should also be prepared. The top of the porta cabin shelters will be painted with reflective paints so that they don’t get overheated during summers,” said a DUSIB official.
There are 201 night shelters in Delhi, of which, 115 are in porta cabins, 83 are in concrete buildings and three are in tents. The one in porta cabins are of steel and get so hot by the night that the homeless prefer to sleep on the pavement than inside.
“We have placed order for 125 air coolers. Every shelter has a cooler but we have planned to install more. For drinking water, we will get a Delhi Jal Board water outside every shelter,” the official said.
The summer plan will be in effect till May 30, and can be extended if required. It has also been planned to deploy more mobile rescue teams to bring the homeless sleeping on the road to the shelter.
A stock taking exercise after the accident last week , it was found that poor upkeep, lack of drinking water and blistering heat in portable cabins are some reasons why the homeless prefer pavements to night shelters in Delhi.
There are an estimated 20,000 homeless in Delhi. Though the occupancy of shelters remains around 17,000 during winters, in summer it drops to below 5,000.