Srinagar: The state government will soon be constructing buildings to provide shelter for ‘homeless’ people, including non-state subjects.
The project, which was finalised at a high-level meeting chaired by governor NN Vohra in January this year, is currently being executed at the cost of Rs 2 crore and Rs 1.75 crore respectively in Jammu and Kupwara districts of the state initially. It will be extended to some other districts later.
As per the official copy documenting the summary of that meeting, the project is being carried out under the government of India’s National Urban Livelihoods Mission (NULM), and will “focus on providing shelter to people who are living either on the roadside or under flyovers.”
“The occupants of the shelters need not be state subjects of the state necessarily,” the document, a copy of which is with Kashmir Reader, said.
The occupants will be provided accommodation free of cost and food at subsidised rates as per the guidelines of scheme. Accommodation will be provided for men, women and families.
“Facilities like common kitchen, separate bathrooms, care taker, dining hall and toilets for men and women and common dormitory will be included in these shelters,” reads the document.
District Urban Development Authority concerned in association with NGOs/ Trusts and occupants of the shelter will be responsible for management of the shelters.
A six-member selection committee has been constituted for the finalisation of this project, with secretary to the Housing & Urban Development Department as its chairman.
An estimated 300,000 to 6,00,000 non-locals visit the state every year, a sizable number of them as construction workers, beggars, broom makers, rag pickers, cobblers, shoeshines, herbal medicine sellers and snack sellers.
Member secretary State Urban Development Authority (SUDA) and joint director Housing and Urban Development Department (HUDD) Pervaiz Sajad Kakroo told Kashmir Reader the dwellings “will serve as night shelters for people who come from far-flung areas or the attendants of patients or those travelling through a district”.
“Four kanals of land have been acquired so far for the project in Jammu district and Kupwara town of Kashmir Valley and initial work has been started for the project,” Kakroo said.
He said that two more kanals of land have been identified in Deli area of Jammu district, where a similar structure will be built to accommodate the ‘homeless’ people.
Kakroo said it will be a “completely transitory accommodation with no time limit” and a person or family’s stay “will depend on the situation”.
“It can be 10 days or five months,” he added.
“We are waiting for funds from Government of India to finish the project as we have already submitted the action plan,” he said.
Asked why non-locals have been included in the project, Kakroo said, “Since it is a central government scheme, we have to include everybody in the project.”
The project is expected to be extended to Anantnag, Reasi, Kathua, Samba and Budgam districts as well.
Kashmir Reader has learnt that HUDD officials sent a letter to the Srinagar Development Authority a few days ago, requesting it to identify land in Srinagar where a similar shelter could be built.
“We told them that no land is available,” said an SDA official on condition of anonymity.