Ludhiana, December 30
The Municipal Corporation (MC) has made three of its four night shelters (Raen Baseras) operational for homeless persons this winter season but various issues related to cleanliness and lack of facilities are yet to be resolved. There is no provision to wash or clean old blankets, bed sheets, pillow covers, etc, at any night shelter.
The night shelters that have been made operational are located near Dairy Complex on Hambran Road, at the old fire brigade building near Vishwakarma Chowk, and in Ghoda Colony near Cheema Chowk. The most preferred night shelter near Clock Tower has been closed after its building was found to be unsafe.
A visit to the night shelter near Vishwakarma Chowk (area under Zone C) revealed that there was a shortage of beddings. According to an MC official, 40 persons can sleep in two halls at the shelter running from an old fire brigade building.
On Wednesday night, 22 persons came to sleep at the night shelter but there were only 19 beddings. It came to light that old blankets which were never cleaned or washed were used by visitors. However, new blankets have reached the night shelter but new mattresses are yet to arrive.
A plastic sheet that was laid on the floor in one of the halls was too dirty. There is no arrangement of toilets at the shelter for the visitors while the nearby public toilet is said to be paid one. However, a lone bathroom was locked.
A drain in which cowdung is dumped from dairies is located in front of the MC’s night shelter near the Dairy Complex on Hambran Road, here, due to which it always emanates stink. It is not easy to find out this night shelter at night.
According to an official, there is a capacity of 50 persons while 21 had come to sleep there on Wednesday night. One hall is reserved for women and the other is for men. But no woman comes to stay at the shelter. It came to light that there was an availability of 35 beddings. Like the other shelters, old blankets or bed sheets were never cleaned or washed. Two of the three toilets were operational.
A bus has been deployed to bring homeless people from different locations to the shelter every night. A visitor, who came to the shelter in an MC bus, said there should be a provision to drop the visitors back in the morning.
MC’s night shelter at Ghoda Colony near Cheema Chowk (an area under Zone B) witnessed 72 visitors on Wednesday night. An official said it had the capacity to house 130 persons. A number of folding beds are available at only this night shelter in the city. The civic body has deployed a bus to bring the homeless persons to the shelter. However, to find out its location is not an easy task at night.
No separate night shelter for women
There is no separate or dedicated night shelter for women in the city. Some women with a child were seen sitting on a footpath outside Guru Nanak Stadium on Wednesday night. However, it is not clear whether they had any arrangement for accommodation or not.
MC Joint Commissioner Kulpreet Singh said the MC had made proper arrangements and there was no shortage of bedding and blankets for any night shelter.
He said 100 blankets were recently donated by the Vardhman group for the night shelters. The staff concerned have already been directed to ensure cleanliness.
At night, the civic body used to arrange food (langar from a gurdwara) for the visitors at the shelters.
No provision to clean blankets, bed sheets
There is no provision to wash or clean old blankets, bed sheets, pillow covers, etc, at any night shelter in the city. Issues related to cleanliness and lack of facilities are yet to be resolved by the authorities.
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