As per court order, only destitute persons, not bus passengers, should be given the facility, says FBV convenor

The Forum for Better Visakha (FBV) has asked Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation not to allow “misuse” of public land by private individuals for opening night shelters.

While appreciating the initiative by the GVMC to open night shelters as per the orders issued by the Supreme Court, FBV convener E.A.S. Sarma cautioned Municipal Commissioner B. Ramanjaneyulu against allowing misuse of public lands under the alibi of developing night shelters.

Mr. Sarma, a former IAS officer, said he had come to know that GVMC had agreed to provide some space to MP T. Subbarami Reddy for providing a night shelter near RTC bus complex, ostensibly in line with the orders of the Supreme Court.

He said the Supreme Court had stated that the night shelters should be provided for destitute persons, beggars, migrants and others who had no means to live in the cities. Night shelters, in terms of this order, were not meant for bus passengers or railway passengers and commuters who were not destitute persons, he said.

From the news reports, it appeared as though the order of the court was being interpreted to suit the interests of those that wish to lay claim over public lands in the city for a purpose not strictly in line with that order, he pointed out.

“From what I understand from the reports is that the land presently occupied by fishermen for their shops will be diverted for a night shelter and the fishermen would be accommodated in a portion of the nearby Old Central Jail land. If this were to be true, GVMC would not only be treading on the toes of VUDA but also violating the order of AP High Court on the Old Central Jail land. Some of us will certainly question such a move before the AP High Court,” he cautioned.

“I hope GVMC will exercise due diligence in dealing with such proposals.

I am surprised that the corporation had not placed this matter before the elected body for a discussion, considering the background of this land.

In a local body, not only the views of the different political parties represented by their corporators should count but also the views of the civil society at large,” he said.

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