Delhi: A State Of Homeless People

Homeless People, Shelter homes, Delhi, Homeless State, Metro cities, National capital, Poor people, Roofless homes, Delhi governmentFifty shades of dark lives.

There was a time when metro cities were seen as an option to escape the rural backward lifestyle. Then, people used to travel to cities with new hopes but over the past few years, the situation has changed drastically. Now, cities are turning hostile to the local migrants who once came in search of employment and a better life.

Difficulty seems to be the understatement for the life they live.

This feeling of antipathy grown up due to several reasons such as socio-political indifference, unemployment, homelessness and so on.

Well! before we get into the discussion, it is necessary to understand the homeless and their role in society.

Technically, homeless refers to those who don't have a roof over their heads and mostly live in inhuman conditions. And when it comes to their role in society, they are seen doing waste cleaning, street vending, rickshaw pulling and many other such odd jobs. These jobs do not offer them any financial stability, neither they have any social security and mostly live on the streets. In our busy lives, we often forget that the homeless are equal stakeholders who contribute to society just like other classes. They even play a much more sensitive role than others.

Due to their financial instability, the homeless people are way more ecological than any other classes of the society. They do not use vehicles which is undoubtedly the leading source of pollution. They do not use other luxuries that cause pollution such as air conditioner or refrigerator. They consume lesser water and electricity than others. Many of them are garbage pickers helping to keep the city clean.

Home with no roof can't be less than an irony.

But do we actually regard them as an important part of society? Well! No. Despite their notable contribution to society, they are subjected to several vulnerabilities.

We have four metro cities that are viewed as engines of national growth but having a closed glance at all four centres of growth, we found that inequality exists at the core of the cities. The growth marginalizes some particular section of people forcing them to live remotely. Despite being a part of big cities, these homeless are living a remote life, they live in the centre of the nation still they are ignored which absolutely affect their physical as well as mental health.

The figure of homeless death in the national capital is increasing over the past few years. There are no accurate figures available yet for the proportion of homeless persons in the capital. However, according to a previous research 181 homeless people died back in 2016.

The chilling winter already knocked the doors, with this the difficulties increase for the homeless people. Their conditions are often used by politicians to reap political benefits. But on the ground, no considerable work is done to alleviate the homeless people.

The number of homeless population in Delhi is believed to be around 1,25,000, but according to the government's record, the occupancy rate is just 8,500 – at its peak. The reason behind the low occupancy is the abysmal conditions of shelter homes. Keep in mind that homeless people also include women and kids who are indeed more vulnerable than anyone.

According to an HLRN report, harassment and sexual abuse are common in shelter homes. Their conditions highlight the loops of the system and abusive behaviour of so-called civilized towards the poor homeless women and kids.

They do not just lack a roof on their head but their identity too which leads them nowhere. Since homeless people include a major number of migrants as well, it is really hard for them to have a considerable identity in the city. As per the Election Commission rule, the homeless can get a voter ID card without any address proof but people are not much aware of it. Hence, homeless people hardly have voter IDs. An RTI filed by Centre for Holistic Development in Feb 2018 shows that only 4079 homeless people in the national capital possess voter IDs.

This tells a large number of homeless are not using their fundamental political rights. It is tragic that the general election is on the head and still majority of homeless people are deprived of their right to cast a vote and choose their leader.

With this, it becomes crucial to talk about government policies. The present government in the centre take pride for their PMAY scheme which promises to provide own house to all by 2022. But there is no clause or component for the homeless in this scheme. Other governmental policies are no different. The smart city project of Delhi doesn't even count homeless as a part of the existing population.

When we look the other way round we get a very ironical image of our national capital. On the one hand, uncountable people are living on roads without a roof over their head. On the other hand, huge properties are lying vacant. According to a Dainik Jagran report, 5.26 lakh homes are vacant in the capital and another TOI report claims, 50,000 unsold inventory exist only in Gurugram.

By and large, the reason behind this ironical situation is the unaffordability. The huge stock of unsold inventory exists due to unaffordable real estate prices or rentals. The unjustifiable government policies and privatization are leaving the poor and homeless unable to find a way to growth.

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