Govt. ill-prepared to provide shelters to homeless this winter

October 04, 2015 12:00 am | Updated 08:16 am IST - BHUBANESWAR:

With barely a month left for poor and homeless pople getting exposed to winter in urban areas, Odisha government appears to be ill-prepared to provide them shelter during nights, alleged activists.

“The State government has not taken seriously to Supreme Court order that had asked governments to ensure night-shelters for homeless. Out of seven shelter homes planned in Bhubaneswar, barely two are being properly operated while in Puri and Cuttack, shelter homes are yet to come up,” said Somyaranjan Pradhan, president of Open Hand Organisation.

Mr. Pradhan said, “it is quite unfortunate that many people in Bhubaneswar are forced to sleep under the open sky at bus stand, railway stations, temples and pavements sans adequate clothes and basic necessities of life. Though Apex Court had directed the government to construct night-shelters positively by 2011 but still no night shelter has been constructed particularly in Bhubaneswar.”

“Right to shelter is a fundamental right guaranteed under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution. By not providing shelter to homeless, the Stat government is violating their rights. Moreover, general callousness and insensitiveness are prevailing in government machineries especially in urban local bodies,” said Biswapriya Kanungo, human rights lawyer.

Mr. Kanungo alleged, “one could find a night shelter in central Bhubaneswar remaining locked most of the time. Besides, hardly any basic amenities are provided to poor who come to occupy space during nights. It is matter of shame that top officials are not ready to take responsibility with regards to night shelters.”

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