Delhi homeless shelters lie almost empty despite Rs 26 crore investment

Posted on Oct 31 2015 - 8:03pm by admin

Maintaining shelters in the Capital is proving to be an expensive affair for the Delhi government.

The government has spent over Rs 26 crore in five years on maintenance of five beggar shelters, which are near-empty in Lampur village in north West Delhi. 

Owing to almost zero occupancy, three of these shelters have been merged into one but still the government is spending crores of rupees to operate each of these shelters. 


The government has converted one of these beggar homes into FRRO’s detention centre; three others are lying empty while the only operational facility houses only 13 inmates. 

The social welfare department of Delhi government has five such centres at Lampur, namely Beggar Home-I, Beggar Home-II, Home for male beggars (able and disabled), Home for able and disabled beggars, and Home for old and infirm beggars. 

Of these, Beggars Home-I (BH-I) has been handed over to FRRO while the Home for Able and Disabled Beggars (HADB) is operational, though the number of inmates is constantly low. 

Information provided by the social welfare department in response to an RTI application filed by RTI activist Rajhans Bansal revealed that the Delhi government has spent Rs 26.95 crore towards operational expenditure on these beggar homes. 

A major chunk of the money, approximately Rs 20 crore, has been spent on salary of the employees while the remaining expenditure has been incurred towards services, maintenance and operation of the facilities.

However, the ground reality presents a different picture. 

Arvind Kejriwal's Delhi Government said it was  working with the Centre to decriminalise begging

Arvind Kejriwal’s Delhi Government said it was  working with the Centre to decriminalise begging

While the Mail Today team was not allowed to enter the beggars’ home, the infrastructure within the premises was found to be in a dilapidated state.

A care-taker said no maintenance work was carried out for the last couple of years. 

The superintendent of the beggar home could not be reached despite repeated attempts. 

The RTI replies have provided data on budgetary allocation and expenditure on beggar houses since 2009-10.

However, sources claimed the wastage of public money has been continuing for several years.

The Delhi government said it was aware of the under-utilised beggar homes but maintained that plans were afoot to check the waste of public money.

“An advisory committee, headed by principal secretary of the social welfare department, is working out modalities to put these beggar homes to optimum use. Checking the wastage of money is the prime objective of the committee,” said a statement from the office of Delhi’s social welfare minister. 

The Delhi Government said it was also working in coordination with the Centre towards decriminalising beggary and rehabilitating those forced to do it. 

The government said it has given its suggestions to the Centre on the draft anti-beggary law entitled ‘The persons in destitution (protection, care and rehabilitation) Bill 2015’.

Meanwhile, the government data shows that that the number of inmates in its beggar homes has been constantly declining. 

While the population of inmates in HADB was 200 in 2010, it came down to 75 in 2011, 80 in 2012 and 40 in 2013. 

The figure increased to 60 in 2014 but came down to 13 in 2015.

Ray of hope for the homeless as 90 more night shelters are planned

By Baishali Adak

Delhi’s homeless can hope for warmer, more comfortable nights during the winter.

The Aam Aadmi Party, which made the poor condition of night shelters a poll issue during Assembly elections, is making efforts to redress the lack of shelter for rough sleepers during the cold season.

At least 90 more night shelters are to be added to the city’s existing 197. 

New Delhi's Aam Aadmi Party government is to add 90 more night shelters to the city’s existing 197


New Delhi’s Aam Aadmi Party government is to add 90 more night shelters to the city’s existing 197

A new combination of materials – tin, thermocol and cardboard – will be used to fabricate these sheds. 

That tin shelters become ovens in summers and refrigerators in winter has been a common refrain.

The Joint Apex Advisory Committee (JAAC) on night shelters, will be reconstituted and meetings held on a fortnightly basis. 

Delhi Police personnel will be sensitised to the human rights of beggars and homeless in the city. 

A campaign will also be launched to involve citizens in helping the homeless during the chilly season.

Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB) board member, Bipin Rai, told Mail Today: “At least 64 shelters are planned immediately and 30-40 by mid-December on requirement basis. These will be spread out across Delhi.” 

The sheds will also be larger. 

As per the Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board’s own estimates, all of its night shelters add up to about 2,44,507 square feet. 

If one goes by the Master Plan Delhi 2021, there should be at least one shelter per one lakh population. 

By this logic, Delhi needs 19,37,520 square feet for the night shelters – to provide this it will need to make up for a deficit of 87.4 per cent.

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