Saturday, November 1, 2014

Government plans to open 24x7 shelters for marginalized people

The New Indian Express, Nov 1, 2014
BHUBANESWAR: To ensure round-the-clock accommodation for the marginalized sections of society, the state government has planned a new scheme - shelter for the urban homeless under the National Urban Livelihoods Mission (NULM).

People such as beggars, street children, destitute persons, the terminally ill and septuagenarians would be accommodated in the shelter, official sources said.

"The shelters would be developed on the lines of model night shelters. Round-the-clock accommodation facilities for the destitute and the additional feature of a kitchen will be part of the scheme," state housing and urban development official Jyoti Ranjan Mishra said.

Other components of the shelters are separate bathroom and toilets for women, recreation room cum library and supporting staff, he said.

An estimated Rs 40 lakh has been earmarked for construction of one shelter which would accommodate as many as 50 people, official sources said.

Although the government would bear the maintenance cost of the shelters, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), civil society groups, youth clubs and women self-help groups (WSHG) will be roped in for better management. The government will give Rs 1,200 per person as grant every month towards the maintenance cost, sources said.

The state government has asked the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) to identify land for the shelters. The scheme would be launched in the state capital in the initial phase on a pilot basis. As many as six shelters will be built in the city.

The scheme would also be extended to 30 district headquarters, besides three more cities - Bhubaneswar, Berhampur and Rourkela - where NULM has already been implemented.

"We have also asked the municipal commissioner and executive officers of around 33 urban local bodies to submit proposals regarding establishment of such shelters," Mishra said.

Since the existing night shelters in the city are not properly maintained, the state government has asked the BMC to prepare a comprehensive city-wide night shelter plan with the component of management of such shelters on a professional basis, official sources said.

The state government also sanctioned Rs 2 crore for construction of two more night shelters in Bhubaneswar and one each in Cuttack, Berhampur, Rourkela and Bhawanipatna.

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