Delhi’s cold turned killer as two bodies were discovered on the first day of the year near Nigambodh ghat. One of the bodies — of a homeless man — was eaten by rats and mongooses. The residents of a nearby homeless shelter found another body in the area.
“Most homeless here die of cold,” Uma Shankar, who is in-charge of one of the nearby shelters. Most of his neighbours echoed his words, but Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB) did not offer a comment when HT contected them on phone.
“The face was eaten up by rats and mongooses and bare bones were visible. He couldn’t be identified. We also don’t know the name of the other person,” Shankar said, adding that few days ago, another body was recovered near the shelter.
A few hours after the two bodies were discovered, Delhi chief minister, Arvind Kejriwal announced that they will set up 45 more night shelters in the city in the coming days. He also said that the fireproof temporary shelter tents will be replaced by porta cabin shelters.
In additions to this, the Sub Divisional Magistrates of all districts will be required to make rounds of the night shelters in their area and submit a report on the conditions of the shelters and the requirement of more, if any by January 4.
Indu Prakash Singh, executive committee member of ‘Shahri Adhikar Manch: Begharon Ke Saath’ and national convenor of National Forum for Housing Rights, said a number of deaths from cold have been reported in the area.
“The DUSIB wants us to believe all the homeless have got shelters. Then why these deaths? Since November, we have been giving the list of places where new shelters are required. But the board has been busy fabricating the number of these shelters,” said Singh. “The ground reality remains that the homeless in Delhi are dying and not enough is being done.”