From December last to January 14, 331 unidentified bodies were found with 80% of them being homeless, data by ZIP Network show
In the Capital, 331 unidentified bodies were found between December 2018 to January 14, 2019, with 80% of them being homeless, show data by the Zonal Integrated Police Network, Ministry of Home Affairs.
The death rate in December to January — among the coldest months in the Capital — has remained over 400 from 2009 with the figures rising each year for June — the hottest month during the year.
“The figures show that despite various measures rolled out by the Delhi government, the death rates have continued without halt. Last year, Delhi recorded 3,289 deaths. In 2017, the number was 2,979, 3398 in 2016, 3222 in 2015,” said Sunil Kumar Aledia from Centre for Holistic Development, which also tabulated the data.
Anil Bansal of the Delhi Medical Association said most deaths are of the homeless persons who are already fighting drug abuse, neglect, inadequate food supply and diseases getting spiked with adverse weather conditions.
Meanwhile, the Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB), which operates 248 night shelters in the city, refuted the allegations.
DUSIB said it “strongly rebuts the unsubstantiated and unconfirmed” report by Centre for Holistic Development.
“The figures are exaggerated and have no direct connection with the shelter for the homeless. Due to elaborate and substantial arrangements of night shelters in the city by DUSIB, lives of several homeless persons have been saved. In the past 14 days, the average number of users in night shelters have been around 11,000 persons,” the DUSIB said, adding that it has the capacity for 17,595.
DUSIB member Bipin Rai told The Hindu that the data cited by the NGO had been taken by the Zonal Integrated Police Network portal of the Home Ministry where no cause of death has been mentioned and refers to unidentified bodies, which include those who died and went unclaimed in hospitals. The data was not of those who had died due to the cold on the streets and similar number of unidentified bodies are reported every month irrespective of the season, he added.
BJP slams govt
Meanwhile, Delhi BJP president Manoj Tiwari hit out at the AAP government over the reported deaths. He said the Arvind Kejriwal government had spent crores on night shelters but has not been able to reduce the deaths of homeless people.