‘Homeless don’t want to stay at the shelters’
Minister for social Welfare, Delhi government, Mangat Ram Singhal, in an interview to Atul Mathur talks about how the homeless don’t want to live in shelters and the government’s plans for them.
Why does the government treat the homeless like a floating population whereas this is not the case?
The problem is these homeless people are habitual. They don’t want to stay in our shelters. They prefer to stay under the flyovers or wherever they get space. With the help of an NGO we bring them to our shelters, provide them basic amenities like hygienic environment and medical help but they return to their old haunts.
They often get clothes, blankets and other things from the rich, which they sell off the next day. We have several shelters for beggars, leprosy patients, women and children which are poorly occupied. They don’t want to stay there.
Does the government have a comprehensive plan for the homeless?
The homeless get food under the Jan Aahar Yojna for just R15 a day. In winters they get free shelter and from February they have to pay just R6 per night to stay at the shelters. We want them to work during the day and spend the night at the shelters. We have increased the shelters from 48 to 148 this year.
Is the government planning to create more employment opportunities for the homeless?
We have schemes where we train the unemployed and homeless. A large number of homeless youths have got vocational training and now earn decent money. There are some NGOs too, which have been recognised by the government, that provide skill training to children and youth.
Police round up homeless on regular basis. Does your department keep in touch with the police and the NGOs?
I don’t think police or the government agencies harass the homeless. There are many homeless people who are drug addicts or are into petty crimes. They are often picked by the NGOs or the police and are taken to IBHAS for treatment. But they manage to escape.
They (homeless drug addicts) are the nation’s spoilt children. The government and the NGOs have been making lot of efforts to rehabilitate them but our efforts have proved futile.
Thursday was a nightmare for commuters travelling in and out of Thane city as there was choc-a-bloc traffic for over nine hours along the stretch from Majiwada towards Mumbai and Nashik. The Eastern Express Highway had a 45-minute delay all through the day on Thursday. Ghodbunder Road experiences the most traffic snarls. Commuters entering Thane through the Eastern Express Highway over the one-year-old Kopri Bridge are also experiencing traffic issues.
A 20-year-old youth from Borivali West, who used to steal mobile phones and later sell them on the black market, had successfully stayed off the radar for four years. Senior police inspector of MHB police station, Sudhir Kudalkar, said they had received 10 mobile phone theft complaints in the last three months, and in all cases, the handsets were taken away while they were connected to the charging points near windows or doors.
Mumbai After registering zero deaths after a gap of 22 days on Wednesday, Mumbai reported two fatalities on Thursday, taking the July toll to 10. Far, since the beginning of the pandemic, the city has seen 68 Covid deaths in the age group of 0-18, out of which 28 were in the age group 0-9. However, the city saw a dip in new Covid cases on Thursday as compared to July 6.
Mumbai A recent analysis has revealed that while more than 35% of the city's population is estimated to be living within 250 metres of known chronic flooding hotspots, less than half of the city's population has easy access to flood shelters. In Mumbai, as with other cities, flood shelters are repurposed from existing structures like public schools, hospitals, sports grounds, marketplaces, marriage halls, shelters for the homeless, and offices.
In a tragic incident, a 24-year-old biker was mowed down after being hit by a trailer at Mankoli, Bhiwandi, Thane on Wednesday night. Police has lodged a case against an unknown truck driver on Wednesday. The driver of the trailer is absconding after the accident. The incident took place at Mankoli Naka near the bridge in Bhiwandi on Wednesday night, when the biker was on his way to Thane.