State of shelters Part – IV

Need to spread awareness among homeless

The MC night shelter at Ghoda Colony near Cheema Chowk remains 75 per cent vacant these days

Need to spread awareness among homeless

The night shelter at Ghoda Colony in Ludhiana. Himanshu Mahajan

Harshraj Singh

Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 11

The night shelter of the Municipal Corporation (MC) at Ghoda Colony near Cheema Chowk generally remains about 75 per cent vacant these days.

Meanwhile, many homeless can be seen sleeping on roadsides or under the flyovers in the city.

In the absence of direction boards or wayfinding signage, it is difficult to find the location of this night shelter that was constructed around four years ago. A number of homeless persons in areas like Samrala Chowk, Industrial areas and others are not aware about the location of this night shelter that falls under the MC’s Zone B.

Amid the cold wave, just 20-30 persons visit this shelter these days. The officials claimed that there was arrangement for 130 persons in two big halls of the night shelter.

Notably, it is the only night shelter of the city where folding beds are available for the visitors. These beds have been placed by maintaining social distance for the prevention of Covid-19. At other three night shelters, beddings are placed on floor. The sanitary conditions at the night shelter of Ghoda Colony were looking better than other three night shelters of the MC, Ludhiana.

Issues needing attention

Like other nights shelters, there is no provision of washing or cleaning of used blankets and bedding covers at Ghoda Colony night shelter. There is also no provision of food or tea for needy persons. A water purifier for drinking water is required to be installed at the shelter.

A city resident, Jagjeet Singh, said, “The MC should create awareness among the homeless persons about the night shelter. It must install signboards to indicate the direction to the night shelter from Cheema Chowk, Transport Nagar side, Samrala Chowk and nearby areas. Moreover, the street vendors, shopkeepers as well as residents of nearby areas should also be made aware about the night shelter facility so that these persons can further share information with homeless persons. If provision of food is made available, I think more homeless persons can be motivated to stay at the night shelter during winter season.”

Councillor from ward No. 20, Navneet Singh, said, “I will raise the demand for the installation of direction boards at different locations like Cheema Chowk and other areas to indicate the way leading to the night shelter. However, many residents of Ghoda Colony are aware about the night shelter.”

For the prevention of coronavirus, masks and sanitisers were earlier unavailable at the night shelter. But, an official said that these had been made available two days ago.

MC SDO Arvind Aggarwal said there were two halls, one each for men and women.

Superintending Engineer (B&R) at MC’s Zone B, Parveen Singla, said they make all efforts to bring the homeless persons to the night shelter. 

On job, say civic body officials

MC SDO Arvind Aggarwal said a city bus had been deployed to bring the homeless from different locations. We motivate the homeless to visit the night shelter. Potable water is supplied at the shelter. We had earlier got the blankets washed. Superintending Engineer Parveen Singla said they would also take measures to display direction boards regarding the night shelter.

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