Over 600 persons including elderly women, mentally ill and those suffering from chronic illnesses are on the list of the destitute

The rehabilitation of the destitute wandering around the streets of Kozhikode is proving to be a tall task for the local administration as their numbers are on the increase and the facilities to accommodate them in the city are few.

As per police records, over 600 persons including elderly women, mentally ill and those suffering from chronic illnesses are on the list of the destitute.

Various trade forums recently took up the issue with the City Police Commissioner. Voluntary organisations have held medical camps for the destitute and provided refreshments. K. Madhusoodanan, project coordinator of the District panchayat’s newly launched Snehasprasham scheme for mental patients, said that rehabilitation and proper treatment of the mentally-ill patients was very much on the cards. A mobile clinic exclusively for them has been planned and it will be implemented with the cooperation of the District panchayat and the Institute of Mental health and Neurosciences, he said.

Social workers said that majority of the destitute are not beggars, but, people who go for sundry work and come to the railway station premises or bus stands for night shelter.

“Earlier, their entry to the railway platforms was not restricted much on humanitarian grounds, but, now, they are not allowed entry on security grounds,” an RPF official explained.

Officials from the Kerala Social Security Mission (KSSM) said that rehabilitation of these people is not easy as it needs constant efforts to get their attention and properly convince them about the merits of rehabilitation.

‘Ente Koodu’ (My Nest), is one of such well-planned programme, now all set for implementation offering free night-time stay for the destitute, they add.

T.P. Ashraf, Executive Director of KSSM, said that the department is now getting ready to extend the benefits of ‘Hunger Free City’ project to the destitute too by the middle of this month. Under the scheme, the community members will get free midday meals everyday. The modern kitchen set up at the Medical College campus, will cater to them with the support of NSS volunteers, he adds.

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