The Supreme Court on Friday chided the central government for wasting Rs.1,000 crore allocated for National Urban Livelihood Mission (NULM) targeted at roofless urban poor in 790 cities across the country without any substantial action.
“A huge amount of Rs.1,000 crore is being wasted without any substantial work,” said the social justice bench of Justice Madan B. Lokur and Justice Uday Umesh Lalit, pointing out that its earlier order of September 18 has not been complied with.
Expressed its displeasure over the manner in which the shelter homes component of the NULM was being implemented, the court asked the central government to tell it what part of the funding under the NULM was being spent on this purpose.
It sought these details as Additional Solicitor General Pinki Anand told the court that amount of Rs.1,000 crore was for the scheme having eight components and shelter homes was one of them.
The court asked Anand to furnish the details of the allocation of funds stateswise, expenditures and the number of shelters homes that have aacome up including their monitoring and evaluation.
Taking a serious view of 19 states and union territories not sending any proposal of shelter homes, the court said that if states refuse to respond by the next hearing fixed for December 4, then their chief secretaries would be asked to be present in the court.
Counsel Prashant Bhushan, appearing for petitioner, lawyer E.R. Kumar, said that some of the state which had cited the lack of availability of land for shelter homes, said that they have lands for malls, commercial hubs, five star hotels and other luxuries.
He urged the court to say that states would not be allowed to allocate land for malls, five star hotels or commercial centres unless they make land available for homeless people, and as it concerned constitution’s article 21 guaranteeing the protection of life and personal liberty.
Bhushan urged states be asked to furnish details of the number of shelter homes in each of their cities and the area covered by them. He said that under the NULM mission, shelter homes should have 50 square feet for each of the occupants but in reality, it was far less and in some places it was 15 square feet for an individual.
Recalling his experience of shelter homes when he was a judge of Delhi High Court, Justice Lokur said that even during winter, homeless people opted to sleep in the open instead of staying in shelter homes as they were so pathetic.