Delhi government still not sheltering homeless: NGO

New Delhi, Feb 16 (IANS) An NGO Tuesday demanded action against the Delhi government for not complying with court orders to provide shelters to the homeless in the national capital.

The Urban Rights Forum For the Homeless said the government has not taken any action despite the Delhi High Court ordering it to convert New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) run night shelter at Sarojini Nagar into a 24 hour family shelter.

‘Instead of providing shelter to the homeless, the officials forcefully threw away the belongings of families living in the shelter saying they could only stay there at night. The majority of these families are forced to stay under a flyover in the cold nights,’ said Miloon Kothari, a member of the organisation.

The Delhi High Court Feb 10 had pulled up the state government for the plight of homeless people in the city and asked the Delhi Legal Services Authority’s secretary Asha Menon to visit all the night shelters and file a status report by Feb 17.

‘We will Wednesday appeal to the court to begin contempt of court inquiry against the government for non-compliance of its orders. We will also request the court to form an independent monitoring committee to ensure compliance of court orders,’ said Indu Prakash Singh, another member of the organisation.

According to homeless people, the shelters started by the Delhi government have some absurd rules.

‘I was not allowed to cook and my children slept on empty stomachs. We are daily wage earners and it is difficult to take our children to the workplace. They did not even allow us to leave our children in the shelter. After two days we decided not go to the government shelters and preferred staying under a flyover,’ said Panchi Devi, who was displaced from west Delhi after a night shelter was demolished.

There are about 150,000 homeless people in Delhi and the government runs 40 night shelters.

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