Another harsh winter awaits Odisha’s urban homeless

On the other hand, statistics of the Housing and Urban Development (H&UD) department suggests that the State currently has 43 SUHs with a total bed strength of only 2,112.

Published: 04th November 2021 10:39 AM  |   Last Updated: 04th November 2021 10:39 AM   |  A+A-

Winter, Cold, Delhi

For representational purpose

Express News Service

BHUBANESWAR: Odisha does not have adequate night shelters to accommodate homeless people during winter. Even as the State government has directed urban local bodies (ULBs) to ready the shelters for the winter months, lack of adequate infrastructure has emerged a major challenge for civic bodies in implementing the move. The shelters for urban homeless (SUHs) can accommodate just around 15 per cent of homeless persons identified in different cities and towns across the State. 

Sources said as per a survey carried out by AMS, Lucknow and Stesalit, Kolkata in three Revenue Divisional Commissioner (RDC) zones, 13,651 homeless have been identified in the State of which 12,742 are permanent and 909 seasonal. 

The Central RDC zone comprising 10 district including Khurda, Cuttack, Puri, Jajpur and Bhadrak has the highest 7,911 urban homeless followed by 4,660 in the Southern division comprising Koraput, Malkangiri, Ganjam, Kandhamal and six other districts. The Northern division comprising Sambalpur, Jharsuguda and eight other districts has 1,080 urban homeless. 

On the other hand, statistics of the Housing and Urban Development (H&UD) department suggests that the State currently has 43 SUHs with a total bed strength of only 2,112. This also includes the 100 bed accommodation facility at the social equity centre in the State capital.  Going by the numbers, only 15.47 per cent of  the urban homeless identified by the survey can be accommodated in these facilities. 

The State Urban Development Agency (SUDA) under the Housing and Urban Development department, on October 30 asked all ULBs to ready the SUHs and prepare an action plan for shifting the homeless to such facilities during winter. However, many of the civic bodies do not have any SUH. This apart, of the existing 43 SUHs, 21 are in Bhubaneswar (8), Cuttack (5), Sambalpur (4) and Rourkela (4). A shelter for urban homeless functional in Cuttack has been demolished for construction of Netaji Bus Terminal. 

While, Housing and Urban Development department officials could not be reached for their comments on the matter, an official from SUDA said SUHs have not been constructed in all ULBs as homeless individuals have not been found in many towns of the State. Besides, these SUHs are mostly required only during winter due to which the government has allowed the ULBs to convert unused buildings to temporary shelters after obtaining structural safety certificate, to provide accommodation to the homeless. 

The official said four more SUHs with a total bed strength of 190 will be made functional at Phulbani, Ganjam, Angul and Koraput by January, 2022. He added four more SUHs are under construction at Sonepur, Gunupur, Rairangpur and Sundargarh at a cost of around `40 lakh.

No place to live 

13,651 homeless persons identified in State

43 shelters for urban homeless in the State 

15.47 per cent of the identified urban homeless can be accommodated in the shelters

Man detained for assaulting mother and  daughter 
Bhubaneswar: A man who allegedly attacked a woman and her daughter at their house in Sailashree Vihar three days back was detained on Wednesday. Rupesh Panda, who is a neighbour of the victims, had gone to the victims’ house dressed as a woman and attacked them with a knife on Monday. The attacker also sustained injuries possibly when the mother-daughter duo confronted him. He was admitted to a hospital and discharged on the day. Panda told the police that he was forced by some anti-socials to attack the two women and the police did not find his claims satisfactory. “Initial investigation suggests, Panda possibly attempted to commit burglary. However, probe is on from all angles and action will be taken against him accordingly,” said an officer of Chandrasekharpur police station.

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