Over 4,000 sleeping in open in 200 places: SDMs to CM

After conducting "night tours" in their respective sub divisions over Wednesday and Thursday, Delhi's 33 sub-divisional magistrates (SDM) have identified over 4,000 people sleeping in the open across over 200 locations.

Based on the report submitted by the SDMs to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, the government has decided to construct 100 night shelters to accommodate all the homeless near hospitals, railway stations and bus terminals.

Of the 4,018 homeless people identified across the 11 sub divisions, the maximum number, 1,222, were found in Central district, mainly around Civil Lines, Kotwali and Karol Bagh. At least 432 people were found in the South district, mainly across Mehrauli, Saket and Hauz Khas; 814 were in Southeast across Kalkaji, Sarita Vihar and Defence Colony.

Announcing the construction of 100 night shelters, Urban Development Minister Manish Sisodia said "some of them will be bigger to accommodate 100 to 300".

"Such shelters will be developed near hospitals, railway stations and bus terminals, accommodating upto 100 homeless people. The rest, accommodating 30 to 40 people, will be developed at the remaining locations," he said.

Sisodia also said "a number of NGOs have come forward" to develop the night shelters after an appeal was made "by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to give a helping hand in this noble cause".

With the days getting colder, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had on Tuesday asked the sub-divisional magistrates to inspect night shelters in their areas and to submit a report by January 4. The CM had also written to all MLAs, asking them to act as watchdogs at night.

Meanwhile, the National Human Rights Commission asked the Delhi government to submit a report explaining why the city's shelter homes had been lying empty after a media report highlighted the issue.

Taking suo motu cognisance of a report, which stated that more than 1.5 lakh people in Delhi were still living on the streets, the NHRC issued a notice to the Chief Secretary, asking him to file a report within four weeks.

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