A late night visit to shelter homes shocked Delhi LG VK Saxena when he found that lack of toilets and space there was forcing many to defecate along Yamuna and sleep on the pavements.
According to his office, Mr Saxena on Friday night visited the shelter home near Kashmere Gate and spoke to occupants in and around the shelters.
Mr Saxena asked them about the facilities being provided to them and took stock of the arrangements and amenities at these homes, they said.
The people told him that many of them were forced to sleep on roadside and pavements, since the night shelters could only house 600 and there are about 5,000 homeless like them in the area.
He was told that the homes provide food only to occupants registered with the shelters, which means thousand others were forced to look for a dinner elsewhere.
They also flagged an acute shortage of toilets at the shelter homes, which forced them to use open spaces along Yamuna bank, the officials said.
The LG expressed deep concern over the lack of sufficient capacity in the shelters and toilets around it, said an official, although he appreciated the sufficient number of quilts/blankets inside the shelter and also cleanliness there.
"The Lt Governor expressed shock that thousands were forced to defecate in the open in the National Capital even as remote areas in the country were achieving the goal of Open Defecation Free India.
"He also took note of the lack of cleanliness in the surrounding area due to careless disposal of paper/plastic plates and cups in the open," the official said.
Open defecation, apart from causing direct pollution to flow into an already polluted Yamuna, was also depriving the poor of basic personal dignity and exposing them to various health hazards, the LG observed, the official added.
According to his office, Mr Saxena has said that he will ensure that in the Master Plan Delhi-2041 there is a provision to house the houseless and provide them with basic amenities.
He will also be taking up the matter with the Chief Minister to ensure that those forced to sleep on the streets are immediately provided with sleeping options at other locations in the city, the official said.
Mr Saxena also stressed on the need to have shelters near the place of work of these people most of whom are migrant workers.
This will help workers save time and expenses on transportation, and will free up space for those who were forced to live at ISBT.
People at the shelter home told Mr Saxena that most of them were hired by caterers to work as waiters and attendants at weddings at far off locations.
The LG also voiced a comprehensive plan for rehabilitating the beggars and drug addicts in the area, the official said.
More than 1,000 beggars living near the Kashmere Gate ISBT will be shifted to night shelters elsewhere in January in view of the G20 Summit to be held here in September next year, according to the government.
The city government had on December 15 asked the Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB) to relocate the beggars living in the area.
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