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

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

By Our Representative
Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book, "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Contempt of court? UP CM taking 'personal vendetta' against Dr Kafeel Khan: Activists

Counterview Desk
Demanding that the Uttar Pradesh government immediately release well-known paediatrician Dr Kafeel Khan, a group of more than 100 academicians, activists, researchers, doctors and lawyers have said in an open letter that he is being “targeted at the behest of the chief minister”, wondering, “When is an act of challenging the government a threat under the National Security Act (NSA)?”

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam*
RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

ASI has 'no funds' to protect five centuries old Goa church, a World Heritage Site

Counterview Desk
The century-old All-India Catholic Union (AICU), the largest Laity movement in Asia, has blamed the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) for neglecting the historic Bom Jesu church by keeping its ceilings  open to the vagaries weather, with no steps  taken to protect the five century old monument from damage on account of impending rains on the lame excuse that there are "no funds". In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, AICU simultaneously asks the Government of India to devise a "comprehensive" national social security safety net, universal health Insurance and medical Infrastructure so that the “calamity” that has befalenl millions of migrant labour and jobless rural and urban poor in “the Covid pandemic-driven lockdown is “never repeated.”

Withdraw sedition charges against three young women activists: 1100 feminists

Counterview Desk
About 1,100 feminists from all over India – organisations and individuals across religion, class, caste, ethnicity, ability, sexuality and genders – have issued a solidarity statement condemning what they have called “the targeted crackdown on Muslims and women activists in Delhi”, who were at the forefront of protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), National Register of Citizens (NRC) and National Population Register (NPR).

Will Govt of India, ICMR end 'perverse' practice of extracting profits from ill-health?

By Asmita Verma, Surabhi Agarwal, Bobby Ramakant*
The Epidemics Act, 1897 gives the central and state governments authority to impose any regulations which may be necessary to contain the outbreak of a disease. Some state governments such as Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhatisgarh have already used this power to bring private healthcare facilities in their state under government control.

Tablighis or Namaste Trump? Rupani must 'clarify' on origin of Covid-19 in Gujarat

By Mujahid Nafees* In his video communication on April 24, 2020, chief minister Vijay Rupani informed us that in the month of March the Gujarat government had quarantined 6,000 people returning from abroad in order to prevent the spread of Covid-19 pandemic. He further asserted that the spread of Covid-19 was caused by the tablighis returning from Nizamuddin in Delhi. His statements were widely publicized and given front page coverage by some local dailies.

Coping with Covid-19? Options before small, marginal farmers of rainfed regions

By Biswanath Sinha, Kuntal Mukherjee*
The global crisis due to Covid-19 has hit after reaching in western Europe. India’s response to curtail the spread of the disease was quite decisive. It announced a Janata curfew on the March 22, followed by a complete national lockdown from the midnight of March 24.

'Violation' of migrant workers' human rights: Legal notice to IIM-A director, govt babus

By Our Representative
Taking strong exception to the police action against protesting migrant workers off the Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIM-A) on May 18, senior Gujarat High Court advocate Anandvardhan Yagnik, in a legal notice to the IIM-A director "on their behalf" has said that the workers had only been seeking to to go back to their home states, Jharkhand and West Bengal, for the last more than 20 days because they were not paid their “earned wages because of the lockdown.”