Night shelter shifts to Turbhe, shrinks
Pawane house could accommodate 50 but the centre at Turbhe will have space for only 25
The only night shelter for homeless people the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) had at Pawane MIDC, has been closed for the past two months.
The civic body had planned to shift the shelter from Pawane MIDC to a community centre at Turbhe, Sector 20, a few months ago. They repaired the centre in Turbhe and painted it. However, it still does not have a water connection. As a result, they had to terminate the services they had been providing to the homeless people for the past several years.
According to the NMMC officials, there were mainly two reasons behind planning to shift the shelter from Pawane to Turbhe.
“First, the Pawane shelter is located near a civic school and we don’t have much idea about the background of the people who come to stay there. The students also feel unsecure because of their presence in the neighborhood,” said Sandhya Ambade, deputy municipal commissioner of NMMC (social welfare department).
“Second, the shelter is at an interior place and transport facility is also not so good in that area. The centre at Turbhe is near the railway station and the inmates will also find it convenient to travel to other places. Therefore, we decided to shift the shelter from Pawane to Turbhe,” she added.
“The work of laying water
pipes at the Turbhe centre will soon be over and we will be able to open the centre within a week,” said another official.
Even as hundreds of people sleep on roads, under the flyovers and other public places in the city, the Pawane night shelter could accommodate only 50. Worse, the centre to be opened at Turbhe will have space for only 25.
The night shelter provides inmates with water and beds free of cost. However, they have
to fend for their food.
“The number of homeless people in Navi Mumbai is increasing day by day. Several families in the city became homeless after the NMMC and Cidco demolished their shanties in the past six to seven months. Likewise, hundreds of people from drought-affected areas such as Marathwada, Vidharva, Khandesh and other parts of Maharashtra have also migrated to the city. Many of them are staying under flyovers and this is
not happening for the first time,” said Malini Singh, 37, a resident of Kopar Khairane.
“Taking the gravity of the issue into consideration, the NMMC should have taken a wiser decision. When hundreds of people are sleeping on roads, by accommodating only 25, they will virtually serve no purpose. It will just be a mockery to the problem. They should have opted for a bigger building where more people could take shelter,” she added.
“The NMMC closed the shelter at Pawane even when their center at Turbhe was not ready to use. It clearly indicates that they are not serious about the issue of homeless people. They should take the steps with proper planning,” Dinesh Singh, 45, another resident from Sanpada said.
Ambade said, “The centre to be opened at Turbhe will be a temporary one. We have received two plots from Cidco for constructing two buildings for homeless people at Kopar Khairane and Ghansoli. The buildings will accommodate more and the Turbhe centre will be shut once those buildings are ready.”