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Millennium Post

Shelter not scandal need of the hour

The latest scandal to have been uneathered, further revealing the apathy that those in power have towards the needs of those whom they are meant to serve, involves night shelters in Delhi.

While no new night shelters have come up in the city in recent years, nothing has been done to maintain the existing ones either. It seems that a large part of funds that were to be invested for the building of these night shelters, were never really used for this purpose.

In fact, some of these buildings were reconstructed using cheap and shoddy material with a large amount of the funds going into the pockets of those charged with executing this project. Corruption among the Indian executive is not a new thing.  But past instances of corruption seem petty and insignificant when compared to the recent cases that have come to light, including the mammoth scale of corruption in the building of these night shelters that involves well over 20 crores.

The tearing down of well-constructed night shelters and other buildings in the nearby localities were not at all necessary but were only done for the purpose of gathering funds. These new buildings were not only built out of scrap and waste material but also of noxious substances some of which are harmful for human health.

Moreover most of these night shelters have hardly been used as a place of refuge for the poor with some of them even serving as offices for those in power. It is quite clear that all this activity is entirely illegal but no no one in authority has taken cognisance of the problem.

However, blame game between political parties or reports of scams will not serve the purpose. Night shelters for the poor are extremely important given the extreme climatic conditions in the national capital. It is inhuman to deny the poor the benefit of shelters meant for them in the harsh cold that has prevailed in the city in the past few days.

The authorities should take up the cause immediately, and even if building permanent shelters so quickly prove difficult, make-shift shelters should be arranged for as many as possible.

The opposition too should not stop with pointing its finger at the governmnent and come up to serve the needy in their personal capacity. No politician can ethically ask to be voted to power, if  the basic amenities of the needy are not taken care of.
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