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Surveys conducted in Karnataka record as many as 11,615 people as homeless.

Express News Service

BENGALURU : Surveys conducted in Karnataka record as many as 11,615 people as homeless. This number remains far from the actual figure, as the surveys were conducted in only 153 of 277 urban local bodies in the state. To accommodate the homeless and destitute, the state currently has only 40 functioning shelters.

These were the figures stated in the proceedings of the third meeting of the Independent Impartial Committee on Shelters for Urban Homeless under Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana National Urban Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NULM), held on September 7, 2019.


The proceedings, of which TNIE has a copy, were held under the chairmanship of Dr Subhash C Khuntia, former chief secretary of Karnataka. Only 1,974 homeless people are currently accommodated in these 40 shelters, as per the report. “In all, 7,147 urban homeless have been identified through third-party survey in 153 urban local bodies in the state, and 4,468 urban homeless have been identified through third-party survey in the eight zones of Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike,” the report reads.

Karnataka needs 172 shelters, has only 38

It goes on to read that Gopinath, member of the impartial committee, said there is a need for 172 shelters in Karnataka but only 38 are functioning (40 at present). Bengaluru city itself needs 100 shelters, according to him. However, the state disagrees. An excerpt of the proceedings, in response to Gopinath’s remark, reads, “The Project Director, NULM,
mentioned that there was no such figure of 172 shelters as per any norm but what is required is to have at least one shelter in each ULB with more than one lakh population and more shelters for large cities.”


According to Special Commissioner, BBMP, it is estimated that 89 shelters would be required to accommodate 4,468 urban homeless. At the time of this report being drawn up, eight shelters were functioning in Bengaluru and since then, one more has been added. A stakeholder from an NGO, who did not wish to be identified, told TNIE, “In the whole state, be it Bengaluru or any other urban local body, opening of new shelters and renovation of existing government buildings to turn into homeless shelters is being done at an extremely slow pace. They are not meeting targets and it affects the homeless, especially during the winter season.”

Inmates suffer from diseases, disorders

Those who have been accommodated in shelters by the government do not have it easy either, as they suffer from a variety of physical and mental health conditions, as per the proceedings. Counselling done by the National Health Mission, health and family department, found that inmates suffered from anxiety, depression, somatoform disorder,
stress-related disorders, schizophrenia, dissociative disorder, learning disability, victims of child sex abuse, adjustment disorder, conduct disorder, substance addiction, enuresis, alcohol addiction and dysthymia.


These patients were given breathing exercises, counselling, referred to district hospitals or District Mental Health Programme Psychiatrist for further treatment and medications. “During the health check-up, the diseases found among inmates were fever, cold, cough, BP, diabetes, tuberculosis, HIV, cancer, skin allergy, gangrene, leprosy etc,” it reads. Repeated calls to Vasireddy Vijaya Jyothsna, mission director, DAY-NULM, Skill Development, Entrepreneurship and Livelihoods, Sumathi, project officer, DAY-NULM, Commissionerate of Entrepreneurship and Livelihoods, and Arundathi Chandrashekar, mission director, NULM, went unanswered.

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