The Gujarat High Court on Thursday issued a notice to the state government on a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) regarding the inadequate number of night shelter homes in the state. The PIL has said that the number of shelter homes in all the five major cities has been decreasing.
These shelter homes, the petition said, are inadequate to accommodate the poor. Under the Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana – National Urban Livelihoods Mission or DAY-NULM, the PIL said, the number of urban poor is increasing while the number of shelter homes has decreased.
The petitioner, an activist Vishwas Bhamburkar, has said that at present there are 101 shelter homes in the state but the number has not increased for the past five years. As per the petition, many such shelters have been shut by municipalities like in Ahmedabad, only 25 shelters remain as compared to 45, five years ago. The 2011 Census had recorded 84,822 urban homeless in the state. But the existing 101 homes can only accommodate 6,430 persons.
Besides, according to the PIL, “Survey for identification of urban homeless has not been conducted in the Urban Local Bodies. Mapping the homeless in the urban areas and identification of land for the shelters has not been done. There is a huge gap between the capacity of existing shelters and number of urban homeless in the state.” The PIL claims that state government has not spent any money from the “balance amount of Rs 4,785.35 lakh as on 31.03.2017. This clearly shows that the state and its instrumentalities thereof including the respondents herein are not interested in providing the shelter homes in adequate numbers for urban homeless…”
The petitioner has said that he did not make any representation before concerned authorities since temperature has plummeted and the poor have to sleep on the streets and footpath. The high court has sought a reply from the government by January 8 after hearing the PIL.