Delhi’s homeless shifted to govt shelters ahead of G20 Summit
Officials said the drive is to ensure that the homeless stay in shelters while foreign delegates visit the national capital during the Summit.
Ahead of the G20 Summit next week, the Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (Dusib) has shifted about 750 homeless people from different locations of the city to shelters run by it, officials aware of the matter said.
The officials added that this is part of a special drive that began in the first week of August and will continue till the Summit on September 9 and 10 to ensure that the homeless stay in shelters while foreign delegates visit the national capital during the Summit.
The drive may continue after the G20 Summit as well, officials said.
A Dusib official said that the agency has written to the Delhi Police seeking its assistance in keeping round-the-clock watch on shelters in Rohini, Dwarka and Geeta Colony to ensure the residents don’t leave the facilities and that they are provided adequate protection.
“During the drives in August, 743 homeless people were found sleeping on roads, footpaths and open spaces at multiple places between Chandi Ram Akhara in Civil Lines and Hanuman Temple, ISBT. So far this year, we have shifted 1,856 homeless people to shelters,” said the official who asked not to be named.
“We directed the local police to provide necessary security services at the sites, the beat officers and bike patrols were also asked to keep a watch. No complaints from the shelters have come to the police so far,” said a senior Delhi Police officer said on condition of anonymity.
The three shelters where the homeless have been shifted are located at Block 10, adjacent to the gurdwara near Dr Ambedkar College in Geeta Colony; Avantika in Sector 1, Rohini, and Sector 3, Dwarka Phase 3 near Delhi Public School.
“We have formed multiple teams which include officials of DUSIB, Delhi Police and agencies involved in managing shelters such as the social welfare department. The drive will continue till G20 Summit and will continue thereafter as well. Not only are the homeless safe in the shelters, but they get food and medical facilities as well,” said a second Dusib official.
This official added that the drive also aims at ensuring that the Yamuna floodplains are kept free from all encroachments.
“People staying in these shelters are being provided all facilities such as blankets, mats, carpets, drinking water, three meals a day, and toilet facilities. The centres also have basic medical facilities and doctors regularly visit these places,” the official said.
A second Delhi Police officer said that since the homeless people were shifted to the shelters, Dusib made a request for security at the shelters where the number of people housed was high. “We directed the local police to provide necessary security services at the sites, the beat officers and bike patrols were also asked to keep a watch. No complaints from the shelters have come to the police so far,” said the officer.
But Dr Indu Prakash Singh, a member of the Supreme Court-appointed state-level shelter monitoring committee (SLSMC), said that the shifting of the homeless could result in them losing their jobs.
“Many of the homeless people work as labourers in places such as markets and live nearby. It has been seen that the homeless people flock back to the places where they have been shifted from. DUSIB may be providing them food currently, but if the care provided by them is so good then why do homeless people leave the shelters. Dusib should improve its facilities at the shelters so that even after G20 the homeless can stay in the shelters,” Dr Singh said, adding that “forcible shifting” would worsen their economic conditions.