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33 homeless found dead in Delhi in first week of Jan: Centre

NEW DELHI: As many as 33 homeless people were found dead in the national capital in the first week of January, the Lok Sabha was informed on Tuesday. Four of them were found near hospitals, three near railway stations and the remaining 26 at different places in the city, Minister of State for Home Affairs Hansraj Gangaram Ahir said in reply to a question in the House. In all these cases, inquest proceedings have been conducted by the police to ascertain the cause of death, he said.
According to the Delhi Urban Shelter Development Board (DUSIB), two night shelters are under construction with the funds received from National Urban Livelihood Mission scheme. The DUSIB has received Rs 2 crore under the scheme for construction of new night shelters. At present, DUSIB runs 83 pucca (permanent), 115 porta cabins and 66 temporary shelters in tents meant for the winter season. The total capacity of these shelters is 21,134 people.
Earlier, a city-based NGO had cited that 44 homeless have died due to cold in the six days of early winter in the national capital. This was followed by Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal saying that the Lieutenant Governor did not consult the government before appointing the CEO of DUSIB, which looks after the night-shelters for the homeless in the city. Delhi Chief Minister issued a show-cause notice to the CEO.
However, DUSIB CEO Shurbir Singh rubbished the media reports on the deaths and said that "DUSIB has no report of deaths due to cold in the city".
The DUSIB officials have come out with data claiming that they have failed to persuade over 1,100 homeless people in the city to temporarily move into night shelters. "The government has been informed that roughly 1,167 people scattered across the city have rejected repeated attempts by the rescue teams to place them in night shelters," said an official.
In his letter to the Delhi Revenue Secretary last month, DUSIB member (Engineering) MK Tyagi wrote, "It has been reported by the rescue teams that about 1,167 persons found in different parts of Delhi during the rescue operations were reluctant or refused to shift to the nearby night shelters." The reason for this, as per the DUSIB report, include fear of theft, relocation, lack of space among others.
The letter mentioned that in addition to the above, 30 families displaced from the Kathputli Colony JJ camp have been spotted on pavements under the Shadipur flyover in West Delhi."They are displaced persons of the Kathputli Colony JJ camp, which has been recently demolished by the Delhi Development Authority," Tyagi wrote.
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