The Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB) drew flak from the Delhi High Court in 2015 for not providing night shelters for the city’s homeless. In response, Ashish Joshi, member of the DUSIB clarified, “Forty per cent of the homeless are drug addicts and prefer to stay outside the shelters.”
According to the DUSIB, the city’s homeless drug addicts are so deeply in the grips of addiction that they sell blankets donated by citizens to buy drugs in the winter.
During a court hearing, DUSIB stated that when members approached the homeless to get them to use the shelters, they were abused by the homeless. However, an NGO, Shehri Adhikar Manch (SAM:BKS), that had conducted a joint operation with the DUSIB said that officials had threatened the homeless and kept then away from the shelters.
Out of seven government-run de-addiction centers in Delhi, only 3 are functional, and only one of those admits patients. Treatment at these hospitals is free.
There are many on Delhi’s roads who suffer from addiction. Most people who live in the capital would have witnessed men, women and children on the streets abusing some form of drugs. When private hospitals charge high fees and government-run centers are inadequate, many addicts from less economically well-off sections of society end up on the streets.
Police sources have also revealed that local drug rings are against shelters because shelters are monitored by government officials and they do good business in homeless and jhuggi areas.