The Delhi High Court today directed the city government to place before it its long term and short term policies for providing shelter to the homeless.
A bench headed by Chief Justice N V Ramana also directed the government to file an affidavit on the number of homeless people who may have died due to the cold weather conditions. The counsel for Delhi government told the bench that the government has acquired buses and converted them into shelters for the homeless.
When asked by the court if these converted buses have basic amenities, the counsel said that they have been stationed near public toilets. The government also said that more buses would be acquired shortly.
The submissions were made during a hearing on the issue of providing shelter, especially in winters, to the homeless in the national capital, a matter which the high court had on its own taken up back in 2010.
Since then the high court has periodically issued directions to the government on the issue.
In November last year, the Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB), in an affidavit, had informed the court that it is committed to ensuring that not a single person would be forced to spend the night out in the open during the winter season.
It had claimed to have ensured that all the 174 night shelters in the capital were in working order.
DUSIB had said that there were 66 permanent and 83 temporary night shelters, apart from which there were 25 that were only set up during the winter season. Together they had a capacity to accommodate 14,000 people, it had said.
On the question of approximate number of shelterless people in the city, DUSIB, by citing a survey conducted by the Delhi government, had said there were about over 55,000 homeless in the national capital.