A week after Urban Development Minister Manish Sisodia declared that more night shelters would be created to accommodate the homeless, the Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB) informed the Delhi High Court that temporary night shelters had been created in seven old DTC buses and that the Blueline Transport Operators’ Association had offered to provide 20 more buses.
According to an affidavit filed by the DUSIB CEO, temporary shelters using porta cabins will be set up near Britannia Chowk and other sites within two weeks.
Expressing its dissatisfaction with the facilities for the homeless, Chief Justice N V Ramana and Justice R S Endlaw have directed the Delhi government to file a fresh affidavit regarding creation of permanent facilities for the homeless and immediate measures to be put in place.
The High Court has been monitoring the issue since 2010 and has issued several orders pulling up the government for its inaction.
Taking note of NGO complaints regarding four deaths due to the cold, the court also asked the government to file an affidavit regarding the measures it was planning to take to prevent such deaths.
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“The Delhi government and the Delhi Police have been directed to file an affidavit about deaths which have taken place along with the post-mortem report, if any conducted…, for fixing responsibility,” the court said.
On being informed by advocate Reena George that the joint apex committee, formed to look into the issue of shelter, had not gone into the aspect of alleged police brutality on homeless people, the court directed the convener of the committee to “convene a meeting within a period of a week and discuss the issues once again and submit a report”.
The DUSIB affidavit also states that SDMs of all districts have been directed to regularly patrols their areas, and submit reports.