At a time when people are reeling under intense cold and prefer to remain indoors, the homeless are forced to sleep on roads in the district as the administration has failed to provide them night shelters despite the orders of the Supreme Court to this effect three years ago.
The apex court, in its February 10, 2010, order had said all cities in all states and Union
Territories, which have a population of more than five lakh, have to provide one night shelter per lakh of population. These night shelters should be equipped with basic facilities such as electricity, water, toilet facilities, sanitation arrangements and beddings, including blankets, mattresses and jute mats.
This reporter went to several places adjoining the railway station and bus stand and found homeless families sleeping and shivering in the open.
Covering themselves with blankets, the homeless have been passing nights after nights without any assistance from administration. Bonfires, which they somehow manage to arrange, also become ineffective in the extreme cold during nights, The administration has also failed to arrange bonfires for them.
When HT talked to the homeless about night shelters, they showed unawareness about the ruling of the Supreme Court and said if the states have been ordered to provide night shelters, then it is good thing.
They said when everyone tries to remain inside home in the biting cold, it was really tough for them to sleep under the open sky these days. Most of them have made temporary huts on roadsides in the town to guard from the biting cold.
They added that none of the officials have come to tell them about night shelters till now. They requested HT to apprise the administration of their plight, so that adequate arrangements can be made for them.
Speaking to Hindustan Times, deputy commissioner Tanu M Kashyap confirmed that the district does not have any night shelter for the homeless. "I am aware of the troubles of the homeless that how they were spending nights in the open," she added.
Kashyap said: "We are facing it difficult to find a suitable place or a hall for the homeless and had ordered officials to find a place for them immediately."
The DC hoped that within two days the district administration will shift the homeless to a suitable place after identifying a place as weather is expected to remain cold in the next 15-20 days of the month.