Wed, 26 Jun, 2019

9 month’s after SC fine, Goa yet to rehabilitate homeless

12th June 2019, 03:50 Hrs

the goan I network

PANAJI

Nine months after being fined by the Supreme Court for not taking care of the needs of Goa’s “urban homeless”, the state agency entrusted with the task is still bumbling along, with no concrete plan about where or how to shelter its homeless.   

In September 2018, the SC had fined nine states and union territories, with Goa being fined Rs 1 lakh for non-utilization of central government funds under the National Urban Livelihood Mission (NULM).   

On February 26, 2019, the Goa State Urban Livelihoods Mission (GSULM), nodal agency to implement the NULM, signed an MoU with NGO Street Providence, who already has homeless-people shelters across the state.   

However, alleging that GSULM did not pay dues as decided upon, for the months of March and April, on May 10, 2019, Street Providence wrote to the Mission Director of the GSULM stating their intention to get out of the MoU. This letter served as a one month’s notice, meaning that as of June 10, the MoU stood void.   

The MoU stated that Street Providence would look after 59 homeless people identified by municipalities across the state, and house them in the NGO’s existing shelter homes. The MoU also made provision for identification of new homeless to be admitted into the homes with the approval of the government.   

The financial terms agreed to between both parties were that Street Providence would be paid Rs 2,500 per head per month by the 10th of every month on submission of a report and invoice. The MoU also stated that one month’s advance to Street Providence on admission of the 59 urban homeless.   

After signing of the MoU, a person in the know informed The Goan that the 59 urban homeless were never admitted to Street Providence homes. The source, familiar with the case, said that the 59 people were identified over a year and a half ago, and that the Directorate of Municipal Administration (DMA) did not update its list of “urban homeless” at the time of signing the MoU.   

However, as per the terms of the MoU, Street Providence wrote to the GSULM Mission Director on March 3, explaining that Street Providence’s existing shelter homes housed 80 odd men and women. The NGO also asked that new homeless picked up by their volunteers, be covered by NULM.   

A trustee of Street Providence however said that the NGO received no reply, and that after an initial payment for the month of February, funds for the months of March and April did not come through from GSULM. This led the NGO to send a letter withdrawing from the MoU.   

Even though Street Providence is out of the picture for the time being, there are several questions that remain unanswered. Where are these funds, and why are the funds being received by the state under NULM not going towards rehabilitating the urban 

homeless?   

The Goan contacted Sandesh Sail, Deputy Director of the Goa State Urban Development Agency (GSUDA) under whom GSULM comes. Sail, however, did not wish to comment on the issue.