VIJAYAWADA: Even as the Bus Rapid Transit System(BRTS) road here has become a 'dormitory' for several homeless people, the Vijayawada Municipal Corporation (VMC) appears to be in no mood to construct sufficient number of night shelters in the city. Vijayawada, with a population of 11 lakh, has only one night home run by the VMC at Hanumanpet, which accommodates 90 people.
There are three other night homes meant for homeless children, being managed by some NGOs. Of these, two are run by Navajeevan Bala Bhavan at Hanumanpet and Eluru Lakulu centre on the bank of Krishna canal. The other one is located at Gandhinagar. The lone night home run by the VMC is charging Rs 2 per person for providing shelter.
Though the capacity of the night shelter is 150 people, police permit only 90 people to avoid 'disturbances' and entry is barred after 10.30 pm. Moreover, many homeless people do not know of the facility in the city. "At present, we have no plans to build more shelters," says VMC Commissioner Ravi Babu.
The VMC does not even have the data of homeless people in the city.
NGOs too do not appear to be paying enough attention to the problems of homeless adults.
There are NGOs like the Forum For Child Rights, Navajeevan and Care and Share that run night shelters only for children. At least 300 children are taking shelter at these homes, says John Raj, convener, Forum for Child Rights.
"We have concern for the homeless adults. But, we can't afford to shelter them. VMC has to take steps to provide shelter to the homeless at these places at least during winter," says Raj