Skip to main content

Available shelters for poor 'inadequate' to accommodate Mumbai's homeless

By Bilal Khan*
A Dalit community living on the pavement near Kalina-Vakola flyover has faced countless demolition in a period of 30 years. Latest demolition happened in March this year before the arrival of Prime Minister and President in Mumbai to attend a media conclave. 
Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), in order to ensure that the poverty remain unseen to the PM and the President’s convoy which was to pass by Kalina-Vakola flyover, removed the shanties from the pavement making each member of the community homeless. 
The shanties were replaced by small trees fixed in a pot so as to avoid chaotic view of the demolition site to the passer-by. Each member of this community possess those ration cards which are given to homeless persons. These ration cards are eight to nine years old.
The Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan brought this case of demolition to the notice of Maharashtra Human Rights Commission in April. The Commission had taken the matter as suo-moto and sought the response from BMC. Yesterday, during the hearing, BMC submitted a report to the Commission. The municipal corporation in its report has declared this community as ‘vagrants’ and has apparently shrugged off its responsibility to rehabilitate the evicted people.
The title of vagrancy can be given to a community settled temporarily at a place for a short period of time but surely not to a community as old as the one near the Kalina-Vakola flyover. Almost all the children there are enrolled in BMC’s local school. 
Each member of this community is locally employed however, informally. Income of the members of this community is not regular, they sometime work on sub contracts of BMC as sweepers or drainage cleaners and sometime even forced to beg on the streets in the absence of work.
As per the data of 2011 census, Mumbai has 57,416 homeless population. Keeping Supreme Court’s, National Urban Livelihood Mission’s (NULM) guidelines in mind and the number of homeless population in Mumbai, 125 homeless shelters are required in the city. However, as per BMC’s own admission, there are no night (homeless) shelters in Mumbai as per NULM guidelines except for the seven night shelters which were constructed before the SC and NULM guidelines were issued.
The currently available homeless shelters have an inadequate capacity to accommodate a huge homeless population of Mumbai. Neither the fund nor the space is an impediment in constructing the homeless shelter for the poor homeless people but the willingness of the government.
A fund of more than Rs. 100 crore is lying unused in the Maharashtra Government exchequer in the name of homeless shelter. BMC cites the unavailability of space for constructing homeless shelter in Mumbai but on the other hand government, many a time has dug out a space in the heart of a city even for privately owned projects.
GBGBA will file a response to BMC’s report on the next hearing before the Commission exposing the irresponsibility and the wrong facts of the report.
Meanwhile, as the BMC never sent for to water the trees planted on the pavement, the evicted person are now taking care of the trees they could save from getting dried after they had come back and settled on the pavement again.
---
*With Medha Patkar, Jamil Akhtar, Uday Mohite and Jamila

Comments

TRENDING

Young environmentalist's arrest 'sinister', even parents not told of her whereabouts

By Our Representative  The Coalition for Environmental Justice in India (CEJI), a civil society network, has said that it is “highly disturbing” that Disha Ravi, a young woman climate activist from Bengaluru was “picked up” in what is referred to as a “closely guarded operation” of the Delhi police. Disha, 21, has been remanded to police custody for five days after she was taken from Bengaluru to Delhi.

Mukesh Ambani's earnings during Covid 'can lift' 40% informal workers out of poverty

By Dr Gian Singh*  The Inequality Virus Report released by Oxfam, a non-profit organization, on January 25, 2021 on the growing inequalities in different parts of the world, sheds light on the growing economic, educational, healthcare and gender inequalities in India. The report has revealed that the wealth of billionaires has increased by 35 per cent during the lockdown period in the country.

US forensic revelation enough evidence to release Sudha Bharadwaj, others: Civicus

Counterview Desk  Civicus, a Johannesburg-based global alliance of civil society organisations and activists claiming to have presence in 175 countries with 9,000 members and working for strengthening citizen action, has sought immediate release of Sudha Bharadwaj, arrested in 2018 under the anti-terror Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and accused of having links with the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist).

'These people shouldn't be in jail': UN official seeks release of 16 human rights defenders

By Our Representative A United Nations human rights official has called upon the Government of India (GoI) to “immediately release" 16 human rights defenders who have been imprisoned on charges of terrorism in the Bhima-Koregaon Case, insisting, “These people should not be in jail. They are our modern-day heroes and we should all be looking to them and supporting them and demanding their release.”  

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Golwalkar's views on tricolour, martyrs, minorities, caste as per RSS archives

By Shamsul Islam*  First time in the history of independent India, the in-charge minister of the Cultural Ministry in the current Modi government, Prahlad Singh Patel, has glorified MS Golwalkar, second supremo of the RSS and the most prominent ideologue of the RSS till date, on his birth anniversary, February 19. In a tweet he wrote : “Remembering a great thinker, scholar, and remarkable leader #MSGolwalkar on his birth anniversary. His thoughts will remain a source of inspiration & continue to guide generations.”

Evolution of Sardar Patel's understanding of those 'involved' in Gandhi's assassination

By Shamsul Islam*  As the world mourns the 73rd anniversary of MK Gandhi's assassination by Hindutva terrorists on January 30, 1948, RSS, the most prominent flag-bearer of Hindutva politics, whose cadres rule India today, is found reacting angrily to the reality – that the criminals who assassinated Gandhiji were not only part of the ideological world-view of Hindu Mahasabha (led by VD Savarkar) and RSS brand of Hindu nationalism but were also connected with these. 

No Election Commission safeguard against electromagnetic hacking of EVM: Study

Counterview Desk  Releasing a new study simultaneously in Chennai and Kolkata in view of the forthcoming elections in Tamil Nadu and West Bengal, the Citizens’ Commission on Elections (CCE) – a civil society initiative – has regretted “lack of integrity of EVM voting”, pointing out, the Election Commission of India (ECI) does not appear to safeguard against the possibilities of ‘side-channel attacks’, i.e, hacking electronic devices through electromagnetic and other methods.

20% of FIRs against journalists in 2020 alone, targeted attacks in 2021 'too many to count'

Counterview Desk  Condemning what it calls “alarming rise in state repression and clampdown on news outlets and journalists” that “expose” the anti-people nature of the establishment, India's top civil society network, National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) has demanded “immediate release of arrested journalists, withdrawal of arbitrary charges and protection of media persons facing threats.”

Top academic claims he warned farmer leaders of Hindutva plot on Jan 26 morning

By Shamsul Islam* The photographs here show a Hindutva protagonist, Deep Sidhu, with his real masters. He is said to be the culprit who tried to derail the historic farmers' struggle by putting up a religious flag at Red Fort on January 26, with no Delhi police which works under the Indian home minister Amit Shah, a senior RSS cadre who is often described 'Iron Man' by Hindutva camp-followers.