Mon Jan 7, 2013 6:26PM
Severe cold weather in northern India is making life extremely difficult for thousands of homeless people in those areas. And many poor people in New Delhi have to continue life without government assistance.
New Year might have bought joy and delight for many people but for the homeless Sanjay it’s just the beginning of another year of struggle for existence and a fight for survival. Reports suggest more than 1-hunderd and fifty thousand homeless people on the streets of New Delhi are braving extreme weather, economic hardship and government apathy. These homeless have no choice other than streets, pavements, under flyovers due to government’s lack of enough space to accommodate all. Spending days and nights on the streets battling the chill, heat and harsh weather, experts say the plight of these homeless people has largely been ignored by the government. They also believe that New Delhi can improve the situation by making more public investments for the homeless. Most of these homeless are unable to obtain access to housing, education, pensions, ration cards, justice and health care. Experts say this reflects the awful negligence towards the issue. They also believe government schemes and programs are a colossal failure unless they are implemented properly. Homeless people who sleep on the roadsides are more vulnerable to accidents, theft and brutality. And exposure to bad weather, pollution and extreme cold also make them physically sick. Over the past weeks northern India has witnessed one of the coldest winters in decades. The harsh weather has claimed the lives of more than 100 people-most of them homeless. According to Independent surveys everyday about 10 people die on the streets of New Delhi. Many of those who succumb to the cold winter are young working people like balloon sellers, rickshaw pullers, casual workers, and street vendors. Experts say there is a need of collective effort by the government, NGOs, and civil society to ensure that everyone has a right to shelter and access to their basic rights.