Rise of the homeless people now by about 21% in almost all Indian cities has emerged a major urban crisis as they not only are spreading diseases but also causing sanitation problems by defecating in open spaces to pollute the atmosphere.
A majority of them, rickshaw puller, maid servants, abandoned women, migrant labourers in construction industry, rag pickers, road-side seller of different edibles, sweepers and orphan children, do not go to pay and toilets as they cannot afford it daily. Hence, they defecate in open spaces.
According to the Action Aid, the total number of homeless people in all Indian cities could be over 80-million. Due to massive migration of unskilled workers from the rural areas to urban pockets across the country, homeless people has emerged as a Sword of Damocles over the issue of maintaining hygienic, sanitation and cleanliness of all Indian cities.
The construction boom in entire urban areas has contributed in a major way towards the massive city-wise migration of daily wagers in the construction sites where they are not provided with living spaces. Such migrants from Bihar, UP, Odisha, West Bengal, Haryana, Rajasthan and other states have tremendously aggravated the urban sustainability problems.
Nearly 75% of the homeless population is in the working age group of 16-45 years and India’s almost entire waste collection, segregation and recycling job is done by them.
The urban Kanpur, Kolkata, Surat, Mumbai and Delhi have the highest number of homeless people ranging from 45,000 to 85,000. Kerala and Tamil Nadu cities have the lowest numbers of homeless people. The lowest proportion is found in Mizoram (0.01%) and Andamans (0.02%). Meghalaya, Assam and Kerala, each have a proportion of 0.04%.
Nearly 50% of India’s total numbers of homeless people lives in UP, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. Of these states, Rajasthan has the highest proportion of homeless. The number of homeless people is 0.39% to 0.02% in Chandigarh and Delhi.
The homeless live inside hume pipes meant for sewages/water-carriage, pavements, railway stations, parks, abandoned buildings, road-side benches, staircases of government buildings and warehouses. There they are exposed to all sorts of viral and germicidal invasions, air pollutions and total unhygienic conditions. That finally leads to their untimely death.
On an average, over 316 unclaimed and unidentified bodies are found everyday putting all cities of India together. Maximum numbers of such deaths take place during intensely hot summer, freezing cold seasons of winter and rainy reasons.