Dimapur sees surge in number of homeless people
Dimapur, July 13 (EMN): The busy narrow streets of Dimapur, the commercial hub of Nagaland, wear a completely different look when the night falls as beggars and homeless people occupy the pavements to catch some sleep after a possible long day.
Dozens of people, mostly ragpickers, daily wage earners, and helpers in shops and garages were seen sleeping in the open space at railway station, commercial junctions, and places of worship on Tuesday night.
In the East Police Station vicinity itself, more than 20 people were found sleeping on the pavements and in front of shops without a roof on their heads. While most of them said that they were originally from other states, there were a couple of Nagas as well.
A homeless person, who wished not to be named, told Eastern Mirror that he works as a helper in a hotel. He said that he came to Dimapur from Pherima for Eid celebration and did not return as he could not pay the house rent.
One of them informed that some of them were ragpickers and labourers, while the older ones were beggars.
A Naga ragpicker, who hails from Satakha in Zunheboto, said that he earns his daily bread by working rather than stealing, and that rag-picking is also work.
He went on to say that he attended Highland Higher Secondary School, Satakha till Class 9 and hasn’t gone home for two years.
He said his brother had visited him and tried to convince him to go back home but he refused, citing personal issues, as he was unable to give up alcohol.
He informed that he usually earns between INR 80 and INR 90 per day by selling rags — INR 20 per kg for empty plastic bottles and INR 1 per empty beer can. He added that he spends most time of the day at the train station collecting empty bottles, but it is becoming increasingly difficult to find empty bottles these days.
With the money he makes, he would buy lunch, which would include two pieces of fish, for INR 50. ‘Sometimes, I eat only one meal a day and go to bed hungry because I don’t have money to buy food for the evening sometimes,’ he said.
He added that some church members provide food to homeless people at the Dimapur railway station every Tuesday evening, so he goes there on the day for the food.
He thanked the church members for their good deed.
Another man from Mokokchung said that he left his family when he was 13 years old and has been staying in Dimapur for the past 15 years, doing various types of jobs to support himself.
He said that he used to work in a paddy field in Niuland for a couple of years but unable to work for about three months due to an ailment in the leg, which is why he had to depend on the ‘kindness of others’.
Meanwhile, some of the people sleeping in the pavements said that they have homes in Hojia, Assam. They said that they work as labourers but unable to rent a house in Dimapur.
One of the homeless people, who is from Kerala, said that he works as a road roller driver whenever he gets opportunity and take up odd jobs during the off-season to make ends meet.
He said that his parents used to work in an agricultural field, but he moved to Dimapur looking for work after they passed away.