Tuesday, March 15, 2011

HC seeks progress report on govt’s night shelter plan

Ahmedabad: The Gujarat high court has directed the state government to submit a time frame by which it would prepare night shelters in the state. Acting on a suo motu petition, the court has asked the government to submit a progress report in this regard by June 28.
The issue of night shelters came up during the court proceeding in a 2008 suo motu petition over food security following a Supreme Court decision, which has made incumbent upon the state government to provide night shelters to the homeless.
In a secretarial meeting on February 24, it was pointed out that there is no formal policy on the homeless in the state, but the urban development department would be implementing the SC order on night shelters.
The government is waiting for the results of 2011 census to know the number of homeless in the state. It has, however, estimated 40,000 homeless people in Surat and 10,000 in Ahmedabad. The meeting minutes was supplied to the court by advocate Amit Panchal during a hearing on Monday.
The state government has also identified certain organisations that provide shelter to destitute women, children and old people with a capacity of 890 beds in five cities. The government has committed to build 96 shelters by 2010 and has plans to build 101 shelters in five cities by 2021.
AMC has invited tenders for building three night shelters at an estimated cost of Rs 88.44 lakh. The division bench headed by chief justice was not convinced with the state government’s plan that it would construct 45 shelters in Ahmedabad between 2014 and 2021, and 28 in Surat. The court criticised the government for having incomplete data on its plan.

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