The Delhi High Court on Friday directed the Delhi Chief Secretary to hold a meeting of officials of all the agencies concerned and draw up a plan to construct 144 permanent shelters for the homeless across the city as per the Master Plan for Delhi-2021.

A Division Bench of the Court comprising Justice B. D. Ahmed and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw directed the Chief Secretary to convene the meeting on February 4.

The Bench directed non-government organisations which have approached the Court seeking to intervene in the matter to give their inputs to the Chief Secretary so that they could be considered and, if found relevant, included in the plan.

The meeting would also consider conducting a survey of places where night shelters were most needed and what would be the accommodation of each night shelter, the Bench said.

Meanwhile, the Bench directed non-government organisations working in Central Delhi to ensure that homeless persons who are currently staying at a temporary night shelter near the Pusa Road roundabout are shifted to a new night shelter at Motia Khan.

The Bench ordered shifting of the homeless from this shelter in view the fact it was proving a traffic hazard.

As for the homeless persons evicted from near Pool Mithai in North Delhi by the Railway authorities earlier this month, the Bench said that they would also be accommodated at the closest community shelter available.

The Bench directed the New Delhi Municipal Council to convert its night shelter at Gwalior Pottery in Sarojini Nagar into a family night shelter.

Earlier, counsel for the various agencies engaged in providing night shelters informed the Court that temporary shelters would be in place till March 31, and thereafter it would be removed with the permission of the Court.

The matter will now come up for hearing on February 10.

The Bench was hearing a suo motu petition on the basis of media reports about the demolition of the Pusa Road night shelter in December last and the State Government and the civic bodies doing nothing to protect the homeless from the biting cold.

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