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Shelter for homeless in CP is hard to come by

Making a home for the homeless in the city is still proving to be an uphill task in many areas. MALLICA JOSHI reports.

delhi Updated: Dec 20, 2010 00:58 IST

Making a home for the homeless in the city is still proving to be an uphill task in many areas.

Despite Supreme Court orders stating that shelters for the homeless should be allowed to come up wherever there is a need, putting up one at Connaught Place is proving to be an arduous task.

For the last two days, attempts by NGO Indo-Global Social Service Society to put up a temporary shelter for the homeless at Hanuman Mandir has hit rough waters. The non-governmental organisation (NGO) works for the poor and the marginalised of society.

“We were told that the tent could come up in the basement of the temple complex, but when we went to set it up, the temple authorities refused to let us do the work,” said Indu Prakash Singh, technical advisor with the NGO.

The NGO was then told to set the tent in the parking lot of the temple complex, but they were not allowed to do that either. After that, the NGO was told to make a temporary shelter in the park — even that the temple authorities refused to allow.

“The park inside the temple compound is the most favourable place, but the temple authorities do not want us to place the tent there either,” said Singh. “There is dire need of a tent nearby, as a large

percentage of the 1.6 lakh homeless people live in and around Connaught Place.”

According to officials at Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB), however, the confusion was a result of miscommunication. DUSIB is in charge of putting up shelters in the city this year.

“We did not know there was this problem. We will make sure that the tent is set up somewhere near Hanuman Mandir on Monday,” said Kundan Lal, member of DUSIB.

In the past, temporary night shelter for the homeless have come up at the Hanuman Mandir park, but this year setting it up has been a problem.

The DUSIB began camps for the homeless in the New Delhi Municipal Council area only last week. Although there are four temporary shelters in Moti Bagh, RK Puram, Bhikaji Cama Place and Safdarjung each, there is not one around Connaught Place.

“Some NDMC officials asked us to set up a shelter near Gurudwara Bangla Sahib, but the homeless did not want to go there. There are several shelters that are not able to attract those sleeping on the streets, as they are not located where the homeless are. It will be a waste of space to setup one near the gurudwara,” said Singh.

First Published: Dec 20, 2010 00:54 IST