New Delhi: The city government on Wednesday told the Delhi High Court that most of the homeless people do not want to shift to night shelters and that they were involved in drugs-related activities.
A division bench of Chief Justice G. Rohini and Justice R.S. Endlaw was informed that a joint inspection was carried out by the Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB) and an NGO, which found that in 12 sites, the homeless people do not want to shift to night shelters.
A DUSIB official told the court that rickshaw pullers refused to shift to shelters saying if they go inside, their rickshaws will be stolen.
"Rickshaw pullers and small shopkeepers refused to go to shelters. They say their rickshaws and goods will be stolen," the official told.
He told the court that 40 percent of the homeless people were drug addicts and he has asked Delhi Police to stop the sale of drugs.
"In Jama Masjid area, I saw a seven-year-old kid inhaling an eraser solution," he told the bench.
Some homeless people were selling the blankets given to them for drugs, he said.
"During the night, people would give blankets if they (homeless) were spotted on the roads. But they would sell the blankets the next morning," he said.
He said Lt. Governor Najeeb Jung was personally taking interest in the issue and has asked people to distribute blankets in night shelters only.
The drug mafia in slum areas was also against putting up night shelters because health officials will inspect the places and the mafia will face difficulty in doing business, he added.
The court had earlier directed the city government and NGO Shahri Adhikar Manch Begharon Ke Liye to visit the places where night shelters were to be set up and submit a report.
The court also pulled up the NGO after its member Indu Prakash said he was unable to visit all the sites as he had gone out of the city.
The NGO had earlier handed over a list of proposed places to build set up shelters.
Prakash told the court that people were staying away from the night shelters citing crowded conditions and lack of hygiene.
The bench, meanwhile, reserved its order after it took up the issue on its own when media reports highlighted the absence of enough and proper night shelters for homeless people in the city.