Night shel­ter shifts to Turbhe, shrinks

Pawane house could ac­com­mo­date 50 but the cen­tre at Turbhe will have space for only 25

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - NAVI MUMBAI - Pranab Jy­oti Bhuyan pranab.bhuyan@hin­dus­tan­

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.”

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