Rain brings relief from heat but spells pain for Delhi’s homeless
Sanitation in the shelters also becomes an issue as muck collects at multiple spots in the shelter complex. The lack of permanent structures and cemented pathways worsens the problems as brackish water collects and becomes a breeding spot for mosquitoes and insects.Updated: Jul 02, 2017 22:58 IST
The persistent rain in the last few days has brought relief from the sweltering heat. The rain, however, has come with its fair share of usual problems and rendered the homeless of the city shelterless.
Since 2000, nine surveys — including one by the commissioners of the Supreme Court — have put the number of homeless in the city between 52,000 and 2,46,000. Of them, only 22,000 check into shelters each night, with the others finding refuge on road sides and in parks.
HT visited few shelters to find the plight of the homeless.
For 40-year-old Suddhi Devi, who lives with her family in a Sarai Kale Khan night shelter, the biggest problem was cooking.
“There is no place to make food when it rains. We cook in the open and have to remain hungry if the rain doesn’t stop,” she said.
The shelter is just a porta cabin and a tent, which is vulnerable to seepage and leakage. “We have to stand out in the rain because water seeps inside tent sometimes. Rain is not our friend,” Suddhi said.
Sanitation in the shelters also becomes an issue as muck collects at multiple spots in the shelter complex. The lack of permanent structures and cemented pathways worsens the problems as brackish water collects and becomes a breeding spot for mosquitoes and insects.
“The construction of a septic tank is going on and stagnant water has collected over here. This has resulted in a lot of mosquitoes,” said Kamlesh, who lives in a Nehru Place night shelter.
At an NGO-run shelter near AIIMS, Radhakant, 28, lives with his wife and five-year-old son, who has cancer.
“There is no electricity in the shelter and the lack of a washroom makes life harder during the rains. We have to go across the road to a public washroom and pay for using it,” he said.
Government officials said they mad no special arrangements at the shelters during the Monsoon season.
“We don’t have anything specific that is done during the rainy season. All the facilities, that are in the action plan, are already provided for in the government-run night shelters,” VK Jain, CEO, Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board, said.