New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday came down heavily on the Centre for not properly monitoring the scheme meant for shelter-less urban poor and asked the Secretary of the Union Urban Development Ministry to personally appear before it.
"Setting up of the committee doesn't mean, you are done. The entire leadership of the state is not interested... You pass the buck to the Secretaries and Chief Secretaries. How will it work? You are giving money but it is not being spent. Where has the money gone?," the social justice bench of justices MB Lokur and UU Lalit said.
The bench, dissatisfied with the government's reply, asked the secretary of Ministry of Urban Development to appear before it on January 8.
The Centre, in its affidavit, said that it contained the details of measures taken by the government to provide shelter to homeless people.
"If the Executive Committee, which has to lay down the policy, does not even meet even once in a year, then what will the other committee do. Scrap it," it said.
It also said that "no progress" has been made particularly with regard to providing shelter homes to urban homeless.
The court pulled up the Centre for not effectively monitoring the implementation of the National Urban Livelihood Mission (NULM).
Additional Solicitor General Pinky Anand, appearing for the Centre, said that the efforts were on to make the shelters liveable and the government was taking the matter with "utmost seriousness".
"Out of 590, 230 is operational as on date. Work is being done and it is in progress," she said.
However, the petitioner informed the court that nothing is being done at the ground level.
The Centre has provided Rs 1,078 crore to states under the
scheme which is meant to provide shelters to homeless people in urban centres of the country.
Earlier, the Centre had said that 27 states, including Union Territories, have set up the executive committee in terms of the NULM for the purposes of permanent housing structures in 790 urban cities.
It had said that the matter is being taken up with the remaining states and UTs to ensure that the executive committee are put in place at the earliest.
The ministry had also stated that it would regularly monitor the setting up permanent housing structures in 790 urban centres and the states and UTs would be asked to give monthly reports.
"We expect the Union of India to concentrate not only on the number of shelters that are being constructed, but also on the quality of shelters and the facilities provided therein," the bench had said.