Although GHMC had identified adequate shelters for the homeless across several localities, a step forward to make them accommodative has not been taken.
Lofty promises of the State to accommodate over 5,000 of the city's destitute in 60 night shelters have been realised but on paper. A mere 100 dispossessed have managed to find homes in the five night shelters provided by the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC).
Although GHMC had identified adequate shelters for the homeless across several localities, a step forward to make them accommodative has not been taken. Apathy of civil society members is citied as the reason.
“Several redundant buildings like some community halls can ideally be used to serve the homeless. But residents in certain areas are unwilling to let go of these government buildings. Most believe that the homeless are harmful.
Criminalisation of the destitute should be severally condemned,” said K. Anuradha of Aman Vedika, an NGO that runs a night shelter near Bible House.
“It is appalling how they do not want such activity in their backyard. Paying heed to such ideas is undemocratic,” she added.
The affidavit, filed by the State in the Supreme Court, was lauded for the apparent intent to protect the rights of the homeless. But the many resolves on paper, to make lives of destitute secure and sustainable besides providing shelter, have not seen daylight yet.
Lack of facilities
Even as setting up adequate number of night shelters has not been made possible, the government promises to go beyond making sure that night shelters have necessary facilities such as beds, blankets, kitchen and sanitation. Skill development training programmes, food arrangements as per recommendations of a “dietician”, periodical vigilance and security are among the ambitious promises made by the State.
NGOs also cite unwilling political leaders as a major roadblock to their efforts and that of the GHMC in making shelters available to the dispossessed.
“Corporators cite reluctance of residents as a reason and do not give clearance, without which the GHMC cannot proceed. Lack of political will influences every step of the process,” said Arunmai, Assistant Director, LSN foundation, an NGO.
When contacted GHMC Additional Commissioner G. Priyadarshini said, “There have been problems in acquiring night shelters for the homeless, but we are conducting campaigns to sensitise people to accept them. Steps are underway to do the needful.”