HYDERABAD: Is bureaucratic lethargy the reason sick and ailing homeless men are staying in a cramped shelter home in Begumpet? Despite a proposed shelter located right next door, numerous homeless persons stay in one that is filled beyond capacity. The irony is that the proposed shelter now houses old street lamps and other electrical equipment despite having been allotted to the recovery home over a year ago.
At present, sick and ailing persons are housed at the Begumpet shelter with a capacity of 50. “We have around 45 regular inmates. We have taken in some 20 critically sick homeless men we found as part of the street medicine programme,” said K Arvind, a social workers at the shelter. The irony is perhaps that the new space lies right next door, but it is locked and is inaccessible. “They have put old electrical equipment and street lights in these sheds. We are asking for the new space to be given to us soon. We hope that this will happen within 4 months by getting the tenders passed or at least get the street lights removed,” said Ramanji, the manager of the home.
Of the 20 sick inmates, many have been diagnosed with critical illness like HIV and TB that can prove fatal if left untreated. Others have met with accidents. “We have proposed for the new recovery home to have a full-time doctor, a nurse and volunteers to take the patients to a hospital. Right now, at this shelter home, there is only one worker who has to coordinate medical check-ups. Even in this weather, people are forced to sleep on the floor,” said Shaik Moula Ali, a volunteer.
Meanwhile, GHMC officials seem oblivious about the new recovery home and apathetic to the condition of the homeless. “We haven’t received any proposals and can act only if notified,” noted B Sandhya, Deputy Project Officer of Urban Community Development wing.