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At 95, on the streets

Staff Correspondent
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Deputy Commissioner N. Prakash enquiring about Gangamma, a senior citizen, who was roaming the streets trying to find a shelter in Mangalore on Tuesday.— PHOTO: H.S. MANJUNATH
Deputy Commissioner N. Prakash enquiring about Gangamma, a senior citizen, who was roaming the streets trying to find a shelter in Mangalore on Tuesday.— PHOTO: H.S. MANJUNATH

After spending four nights at bus stands and on the streets of Mangalore, Gangamma, who claims she is 95, was rehabilitated in a night shelter with the Deputy Commissioner’s intervention on Tuesday.

Gangamma was living with her nephew’s family in Bangalore after her husband died 30 years ago. She has no issues. However, after the nephew’s death recently, she was sent packing. With a bucket, a few vessels, and a sack full of clothes, Gangamma arrived in Puttur, her home town, in search of a benevolent soul who would give her shelter. She did not find any and she slept at the Puttur bus stand. On Friday, she arrived in the city to find an ashram which would let her in.

She said she went to ashrams in Dharmasthala, Udupi, Bantwal, Kodialbail, and Bajpe searching for a place to sleep. “They made one excuse or the other, asking me to fill forms or telling me there was no space,” said Gangamma. In the interim, she spent her nights at the KSRTC Bus Stand in the city.

On Tuesday, Suresh Shetty, a social activist, spotted her and made several attempts to rehabilitate her. When he failed, he brought her to the Deputy Commissioner’s office to ask for the government help.

Here, she attracted the attentions of the media, and soon, Deputy Commissioner N. Prakash found her a place to stay at the night shelter.

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