Despite night shelters, forced to sleep out in cold

ANI | Updated: Jan 05, 2018 06:17 IST

New Delhi [India], Jan. 05 (ANI): Cold wave continues to grip the northern belt of the country, and with the temperature dropping even further, the homeless are left with no option but to sleep in the open.

In Ludhiana, scores of sleeping people lined the footpath of a flyover while those awake tried keeping themselves warm by burning garbage.

Rain Basera, the night shelters provided by the government, are not an option for these homeless as they complained of unhygienic conditions there.

"I do not go to Rain Basera. there is no cleanliness there. Sometimes we get blankets from people here," one of the homeless persons told ANI.

One Raju even alleged that Rain Basera, the free of cost shelters, demand fee from occupants, "They demand fee. If you ask for blankets, they will charge Rs 30. Even the blankets they provide are not clean."

While the night shelters housed the homeless in Amritsar, there were many others who slept on roadsides.

One Gopal Giri, who has set up his abode in the open, told ANI that he did not know of any night shelter, and added, "I do not want much. All we need is a shelter to sleep at night."

Members of an NGO also came to distribute blankets to the lot.

"We brought some blankets and sweets for them. So many homeless people die because of cold. We do what we can through our NGO but we request the government to make proper arrangement for these people. They have enough resources," Harwinder Sandhu, a representative of the NGO told ANI.

"We are doing our bit for those who do not have a roof over their head. We have given blankets but the government can and should do more," said another NGO member, Sheenam Aggarwal.

Tents were also being set up in certain areas of Chandigarh by Rain Basera authorities. However, the occupancy has reached its limit, forcing people, even patients of a nearby hospital to spend the night in the open.

Sukhinder, who had come for his treatment at a hospital, told ANI that the night shelters were completely occupied.

"There should be some arrangement because we are patients and winters on top of it can worsen the health. At least there should be a shed," he added.

Meanwhile, occupancy at the night shelters in Delhi's ISBT Kashmere Gate has also increased and the occupants have expressed satisfaction with the arrangement.

"It is like a home for us. All are comfortable as we are provided with as many blankets as we need. About 60-70 people are staying here," one occupant, who has been living in the night shelter for two years, told ANI. (ANI)