NEW DELHI: A month after Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia flagged the issue of ill-maintenance of the redeveloped Chandni Chowk and reprimanded the authorities for not ensuring adequate standards of cleanliness; the market still lies in same appalling state.
Sisodia, in June, conducted a surprise inspection and asked the Deputy Commissioner Police (North District) in coordination with superintending engineer/ Nodal officer of Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB) to ensure that the homeless are shifted to night shelter for their safety, security and sanitation.
Besides, the authorities concerned were also asked to handover the identified land for the night shelter to the nodal officer within a week and by July 6, 2022, a timeline was supposed to be prepared for the construction of the same.
However, no action has been taken so far. Sanjay Bhargava, president of the traders welfare association, Chandni Chowk wrote to Sisodia saying, “The situation can never be normalized until the government makes an arrangement for more night shelters for the homeless. There are over 200 homeless people who sleep within the market premises. Soon after 8 pm, the entire 1.3 km redeveloped stretch from Lal Jain Mandir to Fathepuri turns into a shelter home for beggars, homeless and vagabond.”
“I have been requesting the authorities concerned to at least increase the number of shelter homes, if they cannot remove the beggars from the market area so that they have a place to sleep,” he added. In 2021, around 1,500 beggars were removed but most of them came back to their locations. There have been complaints that they urinate, defecate in the stretch at night which causes hygiene issues. Bhargava added, “These vagabonds are causing serious law and order in the area as they commit commit crimes with visitors, foreigners, residents and shopkeepers for drugs. They have committed shop breaking at night in past ant the entire stretch is prone to thefts.”
“Many places such as Seva Kutirs in Mukherjee Nagar, near P S Mukherjee Nagar, Narela and Tahirpur which are under the control of Social Welfare Department of the GNTDC are lying vacant. We request you to kindly direct DUSIB to take charge of these unoccupied Sewa Kutirs to make homes for the homeless,” read the letter. The traders said that they are confident that the DUSIB will make efforts to make these Sewa Kutirs functional and rehabilitate the homeless and others soon.