S. Shivakumar (37) is likely to have a disrupted sleep cycle on February 28, the last day of Census 2011 when all the homeless will be enumerated by midnight.
He and his family are among the people who have made a pavement near Egmore railway station their dwelling place.
“Usually policemen disturb our sleep. I came to know that officials are coming on Monday for enumeration. If they come after I fall asleep, I may have yet another night of disturbed sleep,” he said.
“We have been homeless for the past four decades,” says R.Muniamma, his mother. Shivakumar lost one of his feet in a rail accident when he was playing on the railway track close to the pavement 30 years ago, she said. His disability is cited as one of the reasons for their poor financial condition.
The family had migrated to the city from a village near Tindivanam. “We do not have ration card as we are homeless,” said Ms. Muniamma.
Asked about her viewpoint on the enumeration done every 10 years as part of Census, Ms. Muniamma said “Officials have been counting the number of homeless people like me. But I have been remaining homeless for three decades. Our hope is only in our children.” One of her grandchildren, K.Kavitha is studying in a Chennai School nearby.
In 2001 Census, the number of homeless in Chennai was around 6,000. The number is likely to be much bigger in Census 2011, said S.Gopalakrishnan, Director of Census Operations-Tamil Nadu.
The Chennai Corporation staff would take part in the enumeration of the homeless.
It had already conducted a survey of the homeless people a few months ago and found that there were 2,586 such families.
As Chennai has a high concentration of homeless people in Basin Bridge and Pulianthope zones, the Chennai Corporation has formed special teams for enumeration in those areas, said Corporation Commissioner D. Karthikeyan. NGOs would participate in the enumeration.
Over 92.5 per cent of the enumeration for Census 2011 has been completed in Chennai so far, sources said.