Kolkata NGO to campaign for homeless
A Non Governmental Organisation (NGO) named 'A Just City For All' is all set to start a campaign with like-minded groups and individuals for the food, shelter and safety of the poor dwelling on the pavements of Kolkata without any proper identity.
The initiative namely 'E Sohor Goriber O Jonno' (This City is for Poor Also) comprises a group of activists, social workers and the NGO itself.
The campaign focuses on the poor mainly in urban areas who are unable to access any facility for not being able to produce their voter identity cards, Below Poverty Level (BPL) cards or Antardaya Annapurna Yojana (AAY) and other valuable documents to assure citizenship.
The NGO's spokesperson Reshmi Ganguly announced about the campaign in a press meet at the Kolkata Press Club Tuesday.
Activists Chittaranjan Mondal and Md. Israfil in the press meet highlighted the problems of the recent poverty alleviation programmes, Government's stand point about the poor due to lack of identity, and the distress of the marginalized community.
According to the NGO, "The prime objective is to ensure rights of housing, food, electricity, drinking water, sanitation with hygienity, and citizenship entitlements for civic recognition."
They also stressed on the lives of women and children.
Talking about the homeless people Reshmi Ganguly mentioned, the people who live on the pavements of the streets or under the open sky basically are labourers who immigrate without bringing any identity proof from different places of the state even from outside Bengal in search of jobs for their livelihood.
She said, "In the recent census report West Bengal stands 5th in the poverty ratio while the BPL rate is 22pc . About 34.9pc of them are homeless Muslims who live in urban areas of West Bengal."
"In a scheme by the Government 45 shelters were supposed to be made for the homeless people but only 24 have been made in Kolkata, including Howrah and Asansol," Ganguly said.
"Still 7670 families live in open air in West Bengal, whereas in Kolkata the number is 6213 without head count."
The NGO addressed Khidirpur as the oldest slum area in Kolkata.
The spokesperson of the NGO stated, "By the order of Supreme Court in the year 2001, the Rapid Assessment Survey (RAS) was done and that denoted 37760 homeless people are from this city of joy for whom the shelters must be set up."
"According to Census report 2011, the homeless people who counted was only 70000, though all of them were not calculated."
"It is really strange to know that after the metro cities like Mumbai and Delhi where the number of slum dwellers are very high, Kolkata stands highest in regard to slum dwelling, rag picking, rickshaw pulling without proper documentation of identity," they said.
The NGO declared to launch the campaign for the distressed on Sept 28, 2012 at Najrul Mancha in presence of the media, social workers and administrators hoping a better result for the marginalized people.