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Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Delhi Police report on migrant camps: Fans not working, bad food

The problems were flagged by personnel from Civil Lines police station, which surveyed two shelters at Majnu ka Tilla and the posh Civil Lines. More than 15 shelter homes were assessed by the police.

Written by Sourav Roy Barman | New Delhi |
Updated: April 28, 2020 11:13:04 am
Delhi Police report on migrant camps: Fans not working, bad food Food being distributed to children of migrant labourers at a flyover construction site in East Delhi Monday. (Express photo: Abhinav Saha)

“Fans not working and no power back-up; sanitisation of toilets rarely done; most migrants want to leave as their families cannot survive; rude behaviour of civil defence staff; food quality not good; no hand wash and sanitisers; foul smell in toilets; water supply in the toilets only between 7 am and 11 am; one soap for bathing and no detergent for washing clothes; mosquito bites.”

These are among key observations made by 10 Delhi Police station house officers (SHOs), who were tasked to prepare a report on shelter homes for migrants in Central Delhi. The problems were flagged by personnel from Civil Lines police station, which surveyed two shelters at Majnu ka Tilla and the posh Civil Lines. More than 15 shelter homes were assessed by the police.

The report was forwarded by DCP (North) Monika Bhardwaj to Deputy Commissioner (Central) Nidhi Shrivastava on April 22. The Central District administration directed officials to take remedial action based on the report within 24 hours.

DCP Bharadwaj said that after police observed a few problems at the centres, SHOs in the district were asked to file reports from their jurisdiction. Bharadwaj then compiled the analysis and sent it to the DM so the government could take necessary action. Follow coronavirus India LIVE Updates

When contacted, District Magistrate, Central, Nidhi Shrivastava said a copy of the report “has been sent to all the sub-divisional magistrates to rectify the shortcomings”.

According to the report, a survey of three shelter homes by the staff of Lahori Gate police station in their area revealed that there were “no proper arrangements of drinking water” and no facilities such as reverse osmosis (RO) to serve treated water to the inmates.

“No proper arrangement for food was noticed. It was found that food was being served twice a day but quality was not satisfactory. Therefore people roam around for better food. No gap, social distance is found between the beds/mattresses fixed for homeless persons. No arrangement for sanitisation or hand wash,” the report states.

It also emerged during the police survey that many homeless persons have moved out of the shelters after the lockdown was announced. “They were forced to leave the homes and that is creating a lot of chaos in the adjoining areas,” states the police report.

Read | Nearly 38,000 relief camps set up for migrant labourers, Govt to SC

There are 223 permanent shelter homes for the homeless in Delhi. Additionally, 111 government facilities, mostly school buildings, have been notified as shelter homes to house migrants stuck in the city due to the lockdown. These additional spaces are housing over 10,000 people, while the daily occupancy of the permanent ones stands at around 7,000.

For instance, the report states that in shelter number 11, near Old Delhi Railway Station, around 350 homeless persons used to stay. After the lockdown, the number has come down to 156. According to official data, on April 26, 172 people stayed in the shelter.

At shelter number 7, near Lahori Gate, 250 persons used to stay on an average. The number has now gone down below 100, according to the police report and data available with the Delhi Urban Shelter Housing Board (DUSIB).

The Kotwali and Kashmere Gate police stations submitted that there are no shortcomings in shelters falling under their jurisdiction.

Explained | Indian migrants, across India

The report from Sadar Bazar police station states that at the shelter home at Motia Khan, “social distancing is not being maintained due to overcrowding as 412 persons are staying. It needs sanitisation and cleaning”.

At three Timarpur shelters, states the report, no basic medical facilities are available, water is not fit for drinking and labourers are “demanding sabzi poori instead of rice khichdi”. It also suggested that ambulances and PCR vans be stationed outside the facilities.

Inputs from Sarai Rohilla police suggest that the “migrants want to go back”, while the ones from Gulabi Bagh talk about food not reaching on time, same masks being used repeatedly by the inmates, and shortage of civil defence volunteers.

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