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Posted at: Sep 14, 2017, 2:14 AM; last updated: Sep 14, 2017, 2:14 AM (IST)

Night shelter for homeless in Mohali houses policemen!

Night shelter for homeless in Mohali houses policemen!
The Raen Basera at Phase I in Mohali on Wednesday. Vicky Gharu

Pavneet Singh Chadha

Tribune News Service

Mohali, September 13

Built with the objective of offering shelter to the poor and homeless, the Raen Basera at Phase I is being used to provide lodging to policemen in the district. Police personnel have been living in the shelter for the past three months.

When a team of Chandigarh Tribune visited the shelter, no caretaker or attendant from the Municipal Corporation was present. In the gents' room, a policeman was taking a nap while another one was fiddling with his mobile phone. Their uniforms were hung from a clothesline in the room.

The policemen said they had been staying at the night shelter for over three months. “We were asked by our seniors to stay here,” said the policemen. The shelter, meant for the urban homeless, is being used as a temporary accommodation by policemen coming for duty to Mohali from other cities. According to sources, the fire brigade used to house its officials at the shelter earlier.

All six beds in the room were occupied by police personnel. The adjacent room meant for women was cluttered with the personal belongings of the police personnel. Empty bottles of liquor were found on the floor. A corporation employee said, “Police personnel have been staying here for over three months.”

RP Sharma, councillor, Phase VI, said the night shelter was shut three months ago. “The shelter was lying vacant on most days. It was not viable to pay the salaries to six attendants and a caretaker if the Raen Basera was unoccupied. So, it was decided that the Raen Basera be closed,” he said.

“The homeless could be given shelter at the nearby night shelter in Phase VI, which has a capacity of nearly 50 beds,” he said.

Sharma said he had received a call from an ASI requesting for accommodation for some policemen deployed for duty in Mohali for "a few days". 

Kulwant Kaur, councillor, Ward No. 7, said the decision to close the Raen Basera was taken by the authorities to save money spent on the salaries of the staff at the shelter.  She said: “However, the intention was not to make it available for lodging policemen.”Gurdarshan Singh, caretaker of the Phase VI night shelter, said some police personnel had come to the Raen Basera to seek temporary accommodation, but he had refused saying the shelter was meant for the poor and homeless.  

Mohali MC Commissioner Sandeep Hans said he was not aware of the issue. He said, “I have taken charge recently. I can only comment after looking into the matter.”

Mohali Mayor Kulwant Singh said, “The matter is not in my knowledge. If that is the case, the police personnel will be asked to vacate the shelter.”  

 

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