Campaign by The Homeless Collective, Forum for Better Visakha, Mahila Action and FYWA to invite citizens to spend a ‘Night Under the Stars’

As you read your morning paper in the comfort of your home spare a thought for the one per cent of the population of the city that has spent the night exposed to the elements sleeping on the streets or under a flyover exposed to mosquitoes, snakes and without access to electricity, drinking water or proper sanitation. To create awareness about the plight of the urban homeless, a campaign was conducted by The Homeless Collective, Forum for Better Visakha, Mahila Action and FYWA to invite citizens to spend a ‘Night Under the Stars’ on Tuesday night.

Meeting under flyover

The meeting attended by GVMC Commissioner M. V. Satyanarayana, former Union energy Secretary EAS Sarma and CHATRI city convenor Pragada Vasu, among others, was conducted at R.P Peta under the Kancharapalem flyover where a number of homeless families live. The meeting was powered by a battery that enabled a microphone and a single bulb to glow in an area that is otherwise in darkness.

Conducting the meeting in the locality enabled both officials and visiting corporates to truly understand the plight of the homeless and the conditions that they live in and come up with suggestions and an action plan after listening to the problems of the dwellers.

Haven for migrants

The city has been attracting a lot of migrants and other workers who come in search of a living but are unable to find a place to stay. These workers stay for years without an identity as they do not have an address and are hence denied access to basic facilities as well as a voter identity card, and other government schemes. It is only recently that the GVMC has provided them with door numbers by which they can apply for an identity card.

Noise of trains

The meeting was constantly drowned by the deafening sound of trains passing by that makes you wonder how they manage to sleep at night.

The GVMC Commissioner promised to provide them with drinking water facilities, eco toilets, solar lighting and health camps in the near future and promised to keep visiting the area to work towards creating a better environment.

Apart from the two night shelters that have been opened the GVMC plans to open four more in the city.

The meeting called upon people in the city to contribute in whatever way they can to make the city more friendly and human by providing shelter for the homeless.

Issues such as education, role of the police, law and order, the juvenile justice system, need for proper associations and the need for proper security at the railway line, among others, were stressed upon.

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