For over three lakh people in Delhi who live on the streets – the winter is never welcome. In the harsh winters in Delhi they are battered by both economic hardship and government apathy.
Ram Sagar Pandey stays in a basement near central Delhi’s Hanuman Mandir for the last 25 years. He sells trinkets at the temple by day, and by night, he and his two daughters try to make do with the tiny space they have at its basement.
“This space gets flooded with water and the cold is a bit too bitter here, ” he added.
But would he want to leave his own place and go to one of the government shelters for the homeless?
“It is not possible to stay at those shelters at they are located far away. We cannot leave our things here and go to stay there. And even if we do, who is going to pay for the bus fare?” he said.
This is a situation that most homeless people face everyday. The government runs 150 temporary and permanent shelters, that house nearly 7500 people – under 3 per cent of Delhi’s homeless.
For the rest, which includes hundreds of children who are particularly vulnerable, who have not had the privilege of a government shelter – living on pavements, under flyovers and streets are the only option.