BENGALURU: 400 — That is the number of homeless people identified in just two areas of the city on Day 1 of a survey on Friday. For most shelterless people in Bengaluru, footpaths have become homes.
The three-day survey is being conducted by a network of Non Profit Organisations. The homeless were identified only from parts of Majestic and City market areas and the people involved in the survey themselves were shocked to see the number.
“We have not yet completed even half of these areas, but between 10pm and 3am on Friday, we identified around 400 homeless people which includes women, children and elderly,” said Gopinath R, a member of the Independent impartial committee for urban homeless, constituted by the state government based on directions of the Supreme Court.
Following the recommendations submitted by the committee, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has assigned the job of identifying homeless people in the city to a group of NGOs. According to the NGOs, they have chosen Bengaluru South and West for the first phase of the survey. Uday Kumar S B, convener, Impact India Consortium (a group of NGOs), said, “The survey report will be submitted to BBMP for further action. We will stress on the need to build more night shelters for these homeless people.”
Currently there are six shelters in the city and the people and organisations associated with this survey feel that the city needs 50 more. “One of the major recommendations of Independent impartial committee was to build 50 more night shelters in the city. The need is for 100 and at least 50 have to be constructed immediately,” said Gopinath, member of the committee.
“This is winter and it’s sad to see the homeless people shivering during nights. Our demand for BBMP is to act on the survey outcome and shift them to night shelters as early as possible,” added Gopinath.
There are people who have been staying at the same place for more than 15 years, the survey has revealed.
“Not every homeless person is an orphan. There are people who have families, but they are thrown out of their homes. In some cases, people would have left their homes and come to Bengaluru and end up being homeless as they struggle to survive,” said another member of an NGO which is associated with the survey.
On Friday night during the survey, some members of the NGO identified a 11-year-old boy in Majestic area. When they tried to speak to him, they realised he was addicted to various thinner solutions. They found many solution bottles in his bag. Somehow they managed to convince him and shifted him to one of the NGOs which works for street children.
The survey will try and get basic information from the shelterless like name, age, sex, where they come from, whether they have family, married or single, any health problems, whether they are working