The Congress party in the Brihanmumbai municipal corporation (BMC) has proposed to build night shelters in the city for homeless people. The demand was rejected by the ruling saffron alliance in the general body meeting.
Ironically, the ruling congress-NCP alliance in the state proposed to dereserve a beggars’ home plot in 2010. The state government then directed the civic body to change reservation of the beggars’ home plot into residential zone, government offices, staff quarters and girls and boys hostel.
On Friday, Vinod Shekhar, Congress corporator from Colaba moved a ‘notice of motion’ (written suggestion), demanding that the civic body should build at least one night shelter. “We are not expecting to provide them drinking water, toilet or other facilities. Homeless people only should get protected by rains in monsoon season and from cold in winter during night time,” said Shekhar. The city has over 1.5 lakh homeless people on the footpath. Sunil Prabhu, Shiv Sena leader in the BMC however opposed the suggestion saying that it may turn Mumbai city into ‘Dharmshala.’ The ruling combine, supported by MNS, fiercely opposed the proposal and rejected it with majority in the BMC. “The government grabs the plot and then demands a night shelter. This is a double standard,” said Prabhu.
Vinod Shekhar said: “Even I opposed dereservation of the beggars’ home plot. It wasn’t a good decision.”
The Congress and NCP – staged a walkout in protest. We will ensure there is a reservation for night shelters in th city’s development plan,” said Rajhans Singh, congress corporator and opposition leader in the BMC.