: The figures don’t read well for the homeless in Delhi as they jostle for space in packed shelter homes to escape the severe winter. Of the 203 shelters only 195 are functional and the city has already registered 2,927 deaths this year.
“Most of the unidentified dead bodies (80 percent) are of homeless. Winter and summer months are particularly harsh on those living on the streets already plagued by many health issues. This gets worse and aggravated due to malnourishment, harsh climatic conditions, drug addition, lack of timely medical intervention and tuberculosis and other immunity compromising diseases. Dehydration, extreme exposure (to heat or cold) and inadequate or late medical aid often prove fatal,” said Sunil Kumar Aledia, of Centre for Holistic Development (CHD).
Mr. Aledia said that Delhi, which has 82 permanent and over 100 temporary shelter, has allocated just 12.6 per cent of the proposed space for the shelters under the Master Plan for Delhi – 2021 (MPD – 2021).
As per data from Zonal Integrated Police Network and Union Ministry of Home Affairs, Delhi has reported 262 deaths in January, February (275), March (270), April (259), May (291), June (264), July (280), August (283), September (290), October (265) and November (188).
As per the Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board’s winter action plan, looking to augment the number of facilities for night shelter, the government has asked railways, transport and education department to also pitch in. “All the existing facilities and helpline number will remain functional and the aim is to cover every homeless in need,” said a senior official at DUSIB.