A year on,night shelters for the homeless yet to see light of day

The state govt,had on the directives of the Supreme Court,urged civic bodies to create night shelters for the homeless.

Written by Ajay Khape | Pune | Published:October 25, 2013 3:30 am

On November 1 last year,the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) standing committee approved a proposal to start night shelters in the city for the homeless. However,a year later,the shelters are yet to be erected. This delay comes under scanner after a four-year-girl living on the footpath with her family was raped near the civic headquarters on Wednesday.

The state government,on the directives of the Supreme Court,had urged civic bodies to create night shelters for the homeless. The PMC had then carried out a survey to identify locations for these shelters.

Following the norm,under which one shelter was to be built for every 1 lakh population,the PMC planned 38 night shelters,with each being able to accommodate 100 people. However,with the Census report showing 1,454 homeless people in the city,the civic body brought the number down to 16.

When it identified locations,the civic administration had to face opposition from corporators as no one wanted them to be set up in their electoral panel. Thus,the civic administration identified five locations but these were cut down to three by corporators in the standing committee meeting. These too are yet to start with the social organisations appointed for the purpose raising objection on the conditions put by civic administration on running the night shelters.

“We will start the night shelters as soon as possible. There are some doubts raised by organisations that are appointed to run them,” said Hanumant Nazirkar,incharge of Urban Community Development of PMC.

He said the infrastructure for starting the shelters is ready and the civic body plans to accommodate 250 homeless people at four locations in the city. “PMC’s project for homeless kids at three locations will be made part of the night shelter initiative,” Nazirkar said.

The PMC officer said the figure of homeless is continuously changing and a recent survey by PMC UCD department found that there are only 810 homeless in the city as against 1,454 mentioned in the Census.

Meanwhile,Shiv Sena spokesperson Neelam Gorhe expressed deep shock and anger over the rape of a 4-year-old girl in Shivajinagar area. “I will raise the issue of night shelters for women and children with the PMC. I will also take it up in the state legislative council,” she said.

Man held for raping four-year-old

PUNE: A 40-year-old man was arrested by the Shivajinagar police on Thursday for allegedly raping a four-year-old girl on Mutha river bed near PMC headquarters early on Wednesday. Ranjeet Biswas,a resident of Kothrud,had allegedly picked up the girl from the footpath. Inspector (Crime) Seema Mehandale said,“The girl’s mother had a suspicion that Biswas was involved in the crime. We have arrested him based on primary probe. He will be produced in court on Friday.” The victim’s father is a ragpicker. The incident came to light after the girl went missing and was found in a cement pipe under a bridge hours later. The girl’s condition is stable now. ENS

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