Northern India has been witnessing one of its coldest winters in decades. In New Delhi alone, the harsh weather has claimed the lives of nearly 330 homeless people over the past 40 days
Activists say most deaths have taken place in northern and central Delhi, and the figures are still climbing due insufficient night shelters.
According to surveys conducted by independent institutes, everyday about 10 people die on the streets of New Delhi. Many of those who succumb to the freezing cold are young working people like balloon sellers, rickshaw pullers, casual workers, and street vendors. Rami kali a homeless woman says she prefers spending the night on the road rather than in a shelter.
World Bank on Sunday said India can grow at 6.4 per cent in 2015 and that the rate could even accelerate further next year. It, however, cautioned that a persistent “bias” on the basis of caste and other factors can impede prosperity in the country.
In his recent election campaign, Prime Minister Modi promised to provide affordable housing for the poor by 20-22 if his party was voted to power in Delhi. But many homeless people say politicians have been playing with their sentiments and always exploited them with false promises.
New Year bought joy and delight for many but for homeless people in Delhi, it’s just the beginning of another year of struggle for survival. Reports suggest more than 150-thousand homeless people in Delhi are braving extreme weather on the streets, pavement and under flyovers.