As Delhi reeled under a severe cold wave, three homeless persons were found dead in the national capital on Sunday even as Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung asked authorities to ensure shelters for all those spending nights under the open sky.
NGO, Holistic Development, which works for homeless people, said bodies of three homeless persons were found and authorities have been informed about it.
The body of one homeless person was found in the premises of GTB hospital this morning, the hospital authorities said.
“The person was staying near the mortuary of GTB hospital since last couple of days and was today found dead in a park near the gate no.3 of the hospital,” they said.
The identity of the person has not yet been ascertained.
A complaint has been lodged with the police in this regard and if nobody comes to claim the body within 72 hours, then they will carry out a postmortem of the body, the authorities added.
“As of now it seems that he died due to Hypothermia, a condition in which the body’s core temperature drops below that required for normal metabolism and body functions,” the GTB authorities said.
Apart from this, two more deaths were reported from Kriti Nagar area and Bapa Nagar here. The deceased were aged between 50 and 60 years, whose identity have not been established.
As minimum temperature plummeted to 2.6 degrees Celsius — the coldest of the season — the LG issued strict order to concerned authorities to ensure proper shelters to all homeless in the city.
The Delhi government has so far set up 223 night shelters across the city but homeless people can be seen out on the pavements in various localities with officials admitting that the current accommodation was not sufficient.
Officials said 12 more shelters will be made operational in next few days as Delhi Development Authority has provided 10 of its buildings to be used as night shelters.
Jung directed all senior officers of Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB), the agency responsible for ensuring shelters to the homeless, to conduct inspections of all such facilities and remove deficiencies, if any.
According to a recent survey carried out by Centre For Holistic Development (CHD), the shelters space at the night shelter in the national capital is deficient by 87.4 per cent.
“222 shelters (92 Permanent, 109 temporary and 21 tents for the homeless residents in Delhi accounts for mere 12.6 percent of the proposed space for them under the Master Plan for Delhi 2021,” the NGO claimed.
CHD claimed that “only 4,889 persons can be accommodated going by the National Urban Livelihood Mission’s Scheme for Shelters for the Urban Homeless (NULM-SUH) benchmark of 50 square feet per person (mentioned in out affidavit submitted in the Delhi High Court of Delhi on November 14, 2014)”.
DUSIB claims to cater to 14,584 persons (which is about 16.76 square feet per person).