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Warm ray of hope for the homeless in Delhi


Delhi's homeless may hope for warmer, more comfortable nights in the winter.

The Aam Aadmi Party, which made the poor condition of night shelters a poll issue during Assembly elections, is making efforts in the right direction. At least 90 more night shelters are to be added to the city's existing 197. A new combination of materials - tin, thermocol and cardboard - will be used to fabricate these sheds. That tin shelters become ovens in summers and cold storages in winters has been a common refrain.The Joint Apex Advisory Committee (JAAC) on night shelters, will be reconstituted and meetings held on a fortnightly basis. Delhi Police personnel will be sensitised to the human rights of beggars and homeless in the city. Besides, a campaign will be launched to involve citizens in helping the homeless in chilly season. Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB) board member, Bipin Rai, told Mail Today, "At least 64 shelters are planned immediately and 30-40 by mid-December on requirement basis. These will be spread out across Delhi."

The sheds will also be larger. As per the Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board's own estimates, all of its night shelters add up to about 2,44,507 square feet. If one goes by the Master Plan Delhi 2021, there should be at least one shelter per one lakh population. By this logic, Delhi needs 19,37,520 square feet of night shelters - a deficit of 87.4 per cent.

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