MADURAI: Around 90 destitute persons accommodated at a corporation school in the city have been told to vacate as preparations to conduct board exams about to begin. With no shelter, they are more likely to end up at streets.
The joint efforts of a few NGOs and officials of corporation and district administration rescued more than 250 abandoned people from the streets of Madurai since the nation-wide lockdown. Ever since, the civic body has been providing food to them. The NGOs, on the other hand, have been playing a major role in counselling the inhabitants. They have also reunited more than 100 individuals with their respective families. A NGO volunteer said, "Many inhabitants were left with no option but to accommodate themselves in the streets after abandoned by their families. Some are affected by diseases such as HIV and cancer; some turned alcoholic. We convinced the families of more than 100 senior citizen inhabitants to take them back and transported the inhabitants to their respective homes."
Sources said many alcoholics have exhibited withdrawal symptoms during their time at the rescue camp. "Around 90 people who have no place to go are now at a corporation school. In a bid to prepare the schools for conducting board exams, they have been directed to vacate," they said.
Speaking to TNIE, 52-year-old Mayakannan of Aarapalayam, who was rescued in an inebriated state from Periyar Bus Terminus, said, "My parents died when I was young and my wife passed away years ago. I used to do menial jobs for a living. Sometimes, I ask for alms to buy liquor. I lived on streets until I was rescued by the volunteers. For the first few days, my hands were shivering without consuming alcohol. I even had suicidal thoughts. After attending counselling sessions and having got used to live without liquor for nearly two months now, I thing I would never drink liquor. If I get shelter and a job, I will not go back to the street.
Another homeless woman, Bakiyam (53) of Kancharapettai, who discontinued her hospital cleanliness worker job after her daughter's death, was rescued from Pudur. "Though she had been disturbed by the death of her daughter, she had been of great help in handling the ill senior citizens," a volunteer said. "With no source of income, I am willing to stay if I get accommodation," she said. Five destitute persons, all in their 80s, died during the lockdown. Of the five, three were HIV patients. However, Collector T G Vinay assured that the homeless people would be accommodated in government, government-aided and NGO-run homes.