Homeless People in West Bengal: A District-Level Study
The phenomenon of homelessness has often been explained as an obvious result of rapid urbanisation along with the limited housing facility in the urban areas (the destination region), but undoubtedly, it is interlinked with multifaceted issues which have been deeply rooted in the socioeconomic and political set up of the rural areas and small towns (the source region). Rural-urban development disparity, rural-urban migration, poverty, intraregional unequal human development and housing shortage are some of the factors that have intensified the problem of pavement dwelling in urban areas. According to the Census of India (2011), the state of West Bengal holds the 7th position among the states of India with 134040 homeless people. The development disparity between Kolkata and other parts of the state has resulted a definite district-wise spatial distributional pattern of homeless people with the greatest concentration in Kolkata city. The study attempts to probe into the spatio-temporal distribution of homeless population and strives to ascertain the instrumental factors of the phenomenon in a contextual framework with the help of available and acquired data and information. Simple statistical methods- location quotient, Z-score, bi-variate correlation, Spheremanâ€™s Rank Correlation Coefficient and Student t test have been used for the analysis. The findings suggest that the less developed districts, as well as the states, surrounded the Kolkata act as the source region that has pushed the destitute community towards the city and compelled them to reside on the footpaths of the city without a roof.
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