HYDERABAD: Every night, about 50 people sleep on pavements of MG Road in Telangana’s Hyderabad. Similar situation prevails at Rathifile bus stop as well. While there are 12 shelter homes in the city, the needy hardly use or know about them. Full benefit of these shelters are enjoyed by job-seekers arriving from neighbouring districts in the state or junior film artists.
Ragpicker Srinivas says he does not go to the shelters as people there “despise” him. “I am not always clean and I carry with me a giant polythene bag of plastic bottles. People despise me,” says the 18-year-old, clad in soiled jeans, shirt and a cap. Srinivas sleeps in the open during winters.
A DAY-NULM shelter home managed by the municipal corporation near Lingampally railway station has 17 beds, but a look at the daily entry shows there are hardly seven to eight persons who stay there. Most of them work at a nearby labour adda. The homes in Yousufguda and Begumpet have more job-seekers and junior film artists as inmates.
“Until they come inside the compound of the ward office, many do not realise that a shelter home exists,” said Srinivas, caretaker of a home. Less than 100 metres from the said camp, an encampment of 20 shacks have been built by settlers from Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh. “I don’t know of any shelter home here. I lived in one near Ranigunj in 2010, but that is no more there,” said G Rajendra, a native of Shadnagar. The ragpicker takes shelter at the Mehdipatnam bus stop.
A majority of the shelter homes in Hyderabad were set up under Section 10.5 of the Scheme of Shelters for Urban Homeless. Ironically, they are meant to accommodate those without proofs of address or birth.
Mohammad Tarique, member of the special committee to examine national model beggary legislation and director of Koshish that works for destitutes in Mumbai, observes that the already deprived population of the country are further made to suffer by mandating identity (ID) cards. “Many homeless people do not have an ID card and shelter homes are for those who do not have them. In fact, they are to be helped to get one. If thefts or security is a concern, I wonder how an Aadhaar can prevent it,” he said.
Meanwhile, Aadhaar is mandatory with the Municipal Corporation Jalandhar (MCJ) in Punjab as well. “Security cannot be compromised, we cannot take chances. We want to know who is really entering our shelter homes,” said Chaman Lal, corporate engineer, MCJ.
The same mandate is leaving several homeless on the streets in the freezing cold even in Vijayawada in Andhra Pradesh. However, an official of the Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board said that policing is of lesser priority than giving shelter. The norms by Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation are in contrast to the 2013 operational guidelines laid down in the Scheme of Shelters for Urban Homeless, DAY-NULM.
What the guidelines say
For every one lakh population, there needs to be one permanent shelter home
shelter homes should be maintained by Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation as the city has a population of 67 lakh people as per the Samagra Kutumba
The capacity of each
home should be between
50 and 100
shelter homes are present in the city, four are for women. There is none for families
GHMC-built shelter homes for patients’ attendants at four government hospitals are yet to be opened