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DCW issues notice to North MCD officials over night shelters

DCW issues notice to North MCD officials over night shelters
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The DCW chairperson Swati Maliwal, who along with the Members of the Commission visited four night shelters for women in Nizamuddin and Jama Masjid area and spent night in the Jama Masjid shelter home on October 10, pointed out several glaring anomalies in the functioning of these shelters.

“The female and male night shelters are adjacent to each other in the same complex, with no apparent security restrictions which <g data-gr-id="54">raises</g> concerns about the security of women. Toilets are very few and no separate toilets have been designated for women, only one lady caretaker was present in the Jama Masjid night shelter, <g data-gr-id="52">rest</g> of all were male guards.

“Also, there were no CCTV cameras present in and around either of the shelters,” Maliwal said in her letter to the Director (Night Shelter).

Pointing out infrastructural issues, Maliwal said that despite presence of over 150 people in the Jama Masjid night shelter, there were only 4 toilets for both men and women without any demarcation, out of which one was locked as staff toilet.

The water tanker supply from Delhi Jal Board at the Jama Masjid night shelter is extremely irregular, due to which even drinking water is unavailable for days.

She also noted that no drinking water coolers are present at any of the shelters and that in the Jama Masjid shelter, <g data-gr-id="47">food</g> was not made available to people and cooking was not allowed near the premises.

“In Jama Masjid area, several women are sleeping outside in the open. A mentally-ill woman was identified who was thrown out by other residents of the night shelter. An acid attack victim was also found to be sleeping in open. Many of the women were <g data-gr-id="58">drug</g> addicts. These <g data-gr-id="56">appears</g> to be an urgent need for separate night shelters for addicted women and measures for de-addiction need to be initiated.

“....please take responsibility and identify the reasons for these shortcomings. Also, please provide a detailed point-wise status report which should include the steps that will <g data-gr-id="45">taken</g> to improve the situation,” Maliwal said in her letter.

The Commission in its notice to the Director (Night Shelter) has sought information on the preparations of Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB) ahead of the winter season. 

The DCW chief has sought to know the details of all women and family night shelters in Delhi along with complete addresses and capacity, list of temporary night shelters (along with locations) that DUSIB plans to set up during winter for women and families, details of additional arrangements planned by DUSIB for homeless women and children.

She also sought details of policies or processes adopted by DUSIB to identify areas where night shelters need to be setup in winter season and details of the surveys, if any, that DUSIB plans to undertake in identifying the same.

In its notice to the Additional Commissioner of North Delhi Municipal Corporation, Maliwal said that almost all streetlights — including high mast lights of the area — were not functional which is causing a serious threat to the safety and security of women in the area.

She has sought the details of officers responsible for ensuring that streetlights are functional. Reasons for non-functional streetlights in Meena Bazaar, Urdu Park and adjoining areas of Jama Masjid along with the steps that will be taken to ensure that the streetlights are functional within seven days. 
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