It is indeed a pitiable plight for the homeless in Delhi. Despite the severe winters, the homeless in Delhi prefer to sleep on the streets rather than use night shelters, as they feel night shelters are unsafe and lack basic facilities.
According to data, Delhi's homeless are anywhere between 67,000 to 150,000 people.
The Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB) has provided 64 permanent shelters and 86 temporary shelters of tents, but this is able to suffice for only about 12,000 people.
Mother NGO for Homeless, an organization which helps in operation of shelters explained that the freezing cold had claimed the lives of 300 people last winter.
"On an average, 2,500 people have been coming to the temporary shelters, while many don't opt for the permanent shelters as they are far away from the city," Amod Kumar of Mother NGO, said.
Many of the homeless do not prefer to stay in the night shelters due to distance, inadequate facilities and crime.
"The number of homeless people has expanded inexorably; with the Commonwealth Games and Delhi Metro construction, many migrant laborers have come to the city. Any figure less than this must be a gross underestimation," said Sanjay Kumar, project officer for Ashray Adhikar Abhiyan (AAA).
It is time Delhi wakes up to the condition of the many homeless people who are left with no choice other than to take to the streets even during extreme weather conditions.