STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE
New Delhi, 21 January
NGOs working in the Capital have demanded that the Delhi government should look into the death of homeless people seriously along with other important issues like women’s safety.
Recently, 17 homeless people lost their lives due to the extreme cold conditions and rain in the Capital which focus on the state’s failure to make a well thought out shelter plan and a policy for the homeless despite directives from the Supreme Court and the Delhi high court. The issue to protect homeless people was the main concern of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) when it came to power.
An NGO employee Sanjay Gupta said, "The new government should take note of the people dying from cold. They are in power, they can do dharna, but where homeless people can do dharna like this? They should be responsible for any death."
The issue for which they are protesting is good but what about the homeless people who die due to bitter cold. This issue should also be taken up by the government seriously, says BC Prasad from the NGO, The Credence.
Paramjeet Kaur of NGO Aashray Adhikar Abhiyan, said that they have their own agenda for which they are protesting but what about the homeless people? They are still shivering in the cold. The issue of homeless cannot be solved in a minute but now it is the time that more things should be implemented at ground level.
While protesting against Delhi Police, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal slept on the road in bitter cold night. When asked about his reaction about the CM sleeping on the road, one of the homeless said that this experience will be new for the Chief Minister but for us it is not a new thing. We have been sleeping on the streets in bitter cold without blankets for years.
He added that the chief minister has a blanket to protect him from the bone-chilling cold when he slept outside Rail Bhavan on Monday night while protesting against Delhi Police, but we have been sleeping without blankets when mercury dips immediately.
Delhi urban development minister, Manish Sisodia, who has ordered an inquiry into the situation, said "It is a very unfortunate incident. Despite shelter homes being there in various parts of the city, people are forced to live in the open in this freezing cold."
Rishikant from NGO Shaktivahini said," The govt has promised many things. Despite of so many shelter homes and using abandoned buses as shelter homes, homeless people die due to cold. This shows that things are not being implemented at grass-root level. Now it is high time the government should come up with a strong decision and a well planned mechanism."