Homeless, not hopeless
As a conscious citizen, through this letter I want to put forward the problem of night shelter which is slowly threatening the social environment of Guwahati.
Currently, there are a total of seven night shelter homes in the city which are run by the State Social Welfare Department, in collaboration with various NGOs.
But in spite of all these facilities, we do not see much decline in the number of homeless people in streets at night, especially in areas like Sukreswar temple, Kamakhya Temple, Hanuman Temple, restaurants and other public places.
We see them sleeping on pavements or dividers, exposed to harsh weather conditions. Many of them look ailing. Places they live in are accident prone.
According to a report, Assam has the highest number of beggars and vagrants in the entire Northeast India. At the all-India level, the State is ranked 4th in the number of women beggars. Being homeless and penury-driven, many of them are suspected to indulge in crimes.
Night shelters are no doubt a very effective solution to solve the problem of homelessness. However, it has to be executed properly. The government can make use of old ASTC buses and convert them into mobile night shelters by removing all the seats and making them clean and hygienic for homeless people to sleep at night.
A mobile app can also be introduced by the Guwahati district administration to help detect the homeless people easily. Anyone who spots a homeless person anywhere can inform the government through that app. The government can also educate homeless people so as to rehabilitate them.