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Community Development

Not enough night shelters in Chennai

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The Hindu        31.03.2017 

Not enough night shelters in Chennai

Street dwellers unaware of facilities

With peak summer around the corner, the already blazing heat is taking a toll on the homeless in the city.

Take, for instance, a flower-seller on Marina Beach, who usually sleeps on nearby pavements. Her seven-year-old son has developed boils and blisters. “Water is a huge problem for us now. There is also no shade on the pavements. We try and go to residential colonies or near office buildings where it is a little cooler,” she said.

“In summer, heat exhaustion, cramps and dehydration can occur,” warns T. Ravindran, professor of medicine, Madha Medical College. “Also, dermatological problems such as prickly skin are likely.”

Chennai Corporation runs 43 night shelters in the city. Six of them were opened at government hospitals recently. Another four are also set to be opened in these hospitals. However, street dwellers plead ignorance about the location of these shelters or how to get there.

Sukumari (name changed), a pavement dweller in Chepauk, suffers heat migraines. While she has heard of the shelters, she has no further information about them.

Going by a Supreme Court order that mandates one shelter for every one lakh people, Chennai should have around 70 shelters. But it has just a little over half the number. The Corporation has asked NGOs running shelters to increase the number of inmates from the present 30 to 50 if space permits, said an official. “Only a few shelters are running completely full now. We have also asked the NGOs to undertake construction if there is space,” he said.

A needs assessment will also be made in June to estimate the additional number of shelters required. “We have planned sites already — unused Corporation buildings that have been registered and kept ready. They can be converted into night shelters when needed,” he said.

Experts say around 80% of the homeless population in the city comprises families. “Most of these families have been residing on the streets for generations and need reasonable housing. Right now, they have nothing — neither shelters nor houses,” said R. Geetha, adviser to the Unorganised Workers Federation.

The Corporation can place boards outside zonal offices with a list of shelters, she pointed out. It can also conduct periodic surveys of pavement dwellers to keep them informed.

In the last three years, 1,464 urban homeless have been reintegrated with their families.


Training to vendors ahead of formation of zones

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The Hindu         29.01.2015  

Training to vendors ahead of formation of zones

They will be given identity cards soon: official

Row of pavement shops on Nethaji Road in the city.— Photo: S. James
Row of pavement shops on Nethaji Road in the city.— Photo: S. James

The city corporation will organise training sessions for street vendors as a first step towards formation of vending zones in the city.

The programme, which is being initiated under the Urban Street Vendors Scheme as a part of the National Urban Livelihoods Mission (NULM), will seek to form vending zones in every area where vendors will be provided with infrastructure and other facilities to carry out business.

“A survey undertaken by the NULM identified 6,993 street vendors within the corporation limits. They will soon be issued identity cards and classified based on the corporation zone they belong to,” said V. Rajendran, Assistant Project Director, NULM.

“The areas for the vending zones will be identified based on the concentration of street vendors and footfall of people. These organised vending zones are aimed at protecting street vendors from harassment and also giving them a proper identity and space for their livelihood,” he added.

As part of the training, functioning of the zones and facilities required for their functioning would be explained to the street vendors. More than 60 street vendors identified from Madurai North Zone – most of them from Mattuthavani area – would participate in the first phase of the initiative.

“The programme will be conducted in a phased manner following which identification of locations for vending zones will be initiated. Spaces owned by the city corporation at those locations will be earmarked for construction of facilities for street vendors,” an official said.


Survey of street vendors, hawkers in Salem

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The Hindu           29.12.2014  

Survey of street vendors, hawkers in Salem

To enumerate the number of street vendors and hawkers in the city, a Chennai-based private company would begin a global positioning system (GPS) satellite survey on December 29.

The Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Act, 2014 paves way for protecting the right of urban street vendors and to regulate their vending activities.

The Act mandates forming a Town Vending Committee that should conduct a survey of all existing street vendors within Corporation limits at least once in five years and also frame guidelines for relocating such vendors.

The Act provides the right to vendors, who possesses a certificate of vending, to be entitled for new area, for carrying out vending activities, that is determined by the committee.

Hence, the Corporation has appointed the company to carry out the survey in the city limits so that welfare measures and their rights are protected.

Corporation Commissioner K.R. Selvaraj has requested all vendors to provide complete details to the surveyors so that the survey report is accurate and used for further decision-making process.

Though no proper survey has been carried out so far by the Corporation, about 6,817 hawkers are said to be in the civic body limits.

Vendors asked to provide complete details to those conducting survey

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