Thousands of labourers, who have been spending their nights on footpaths, will soon get relief from the biting chill. The Delhi government has decided to construct dormitories to provide accommodation to the destitutes during winters.
A significant part of the city's homeless population comprises labourers and migrants, who use temporary night shelters or take refuge on footpaths.
The Delhi State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation (DSIIDC) has chalked out a plan to construct transit accommodation for construction workers and labourers.
A detailed project report, under which five-bedded dormitories will be constructed to accommodate 10,500 people and 10-bedded ones for 9,520 people, has already been prepared. The proposal has been sent to the urban development department for approval.
The city's 64 permanent night shelters are inadequate to accommodate the homeless population, estimated to be more than one lakh.
"Most night shelters are used by construction workers and labourers, who are unable to afford rented accommodation. Land has already been allotted to the DSIIDC to construct houses for people belonging to the economically weaker section of society," said a senior Delhi government official.
Land for constructing transit accommodation has been provided in the Kanjhawala area. According to a government data, Delhi's homeless population is estimated to be around one lakh. To ensure proper maintenance of these dormitories, it has been proposed to give them on rent to construction firms.
"It is a welcome step. But transit shelters should be available in central Delhi too. Placing them in the border areas, where there is hardly any livelihood option, is not a good idea," said Indu Prakash Singh, technical advisor of Indo-Global Social Service Society, which deals with urban poverty and homeless.
The five-bedded dormitories will be built at a cost of Rs 201 crore and the 10-bedded ones at Rs 160 crore. For the funding, 50% of the cost will be financed under the Rajiv Awas Yojna, 25% by the Delhi government and 12.5% by the DSIIDC. "Money collected under the labour welfare fund can be utilised for this purpose," he said. Unlike night shelters, the dormitories will provide space to occupants to keep their belongings.