This blog had been advocating the need for civic citizens to lend a helping hand to the homeless at the winter time by provisions of night shelters and woollies like blankets and sweaters. This would prevent needless deaths during cold wave and each and every death is a blot on our democracy. Till now, the only major news channel that supported such a campaign had been NDTV. We are elated that CNN-IBNLIVE has now joined this campaign. Watch the video by clicking the arrow.
Homeless in Delhi dwell on roads in extreme cold
For many of us, winter means dressing up in designer jackets, stylish mufflers and sexy boots; but for them, a torn blanket is the only weapon in their fight against the harsh Delhi winter.
The best efforts of the Sheila Dikshit government in providing shelters and several court directives notwithstanding, thousands of the homeless still dwell on city roads in the extreme cold. Many sit around bonfires of plastic and rags near bus and railway stations across the city to keep themselves warm.
The Capital has been experiencing biting cold conditions in the past few days and no respite is in sight till the weekend, going by the Met forecast.
Though technically, Delhi is not under a cold wave, some parts of the city may be under it as there is a difference of five-six degrees in temperatures across regions.
The Safdarjung airport area on Wednesday recorded a minimum of 4.6 ° Celsius, three degrees below normal and a maximum of 17.9 ° , also three degrees below normal.
On a tour around the city, we found fivesix persons huddled under the Nizamuddin railway station flyover in a bid to escape the chilly winds. A couple - Mahesh and Usha - was seen sharing a blanket in the chilly night.
"We can't do much against this cold. The most we can manage is discarded food material to feed on and garbage to light for heat,"
Mahesh said. The couple has three children to look after.
The scene was no different in a different region of the city - Meena Bazaar, Daryaganj. Many people were smoking and drinking for warmth but those who didn't, complained of unwanted interference. "The drug addicts take out their knives at the slightest provocation. Since we don't have a permanent place to reside in, we have to make do with this," Mohammed Aslam, a rag-picker sitting near a garbage dump, said.
The Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB), the nodal agency for providing shelter facilities to the homeless in Delhi, has established and is operating 132 night shelters across the city.
To ensure effective utilisation in a humanitarian manner and for a maximum reach- out, the DUSIB has inducted the services of some NGOs for operation and maintenance of all the shelters. The DUSIB has requested the police, civic agencies and NGOs to shift people sleeping on the pavements, under- bridges and public parks to the nearest shelter facility.
Dikshit has committed that the DUSIB will construct more night shelters in Delhi, depending upon the requirement. Around 12,400 shelterless people can be accommodated in the 132 night shelters across Delhi, but the current occupancy is a low 5,100 people a night.
Though the mercury will continue its downward trend till Friday, an increase is expected January 14 onwards with the onset of the western disturbances."With the western disturbances, the north- westerly winds will give way to westerly winds which will stop the lowering trend of temperatures," India Meteorological Department director Dr S. C. Bhan said, "During western disturbance, night temperatures increase. This will normalise temperatures."For today (Thursday), the weatherman has predicted a minimum temperature of 4 ° and a maximum of 19 ° Celsius in Delhi. Most parts of northwest India are in the grip of a cold wave and it is expected to prevail over states such as Punjab, Haryana, north Rajasthan, west Uttar Pradesh and adjoining central India during the next two days.
The weatherman has predicted fog over parts of northwest India and east UP and Bihar in the next two days. Visibility could reduce to 200 m in the early hours over parts of east UP and Bihar, the IMD has warned.