With the nights getting colder, Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit on Saturday instructed authorities to upgrade night shelters wherever necessary. Taking stock of their functioning, the CM said 150 night shelters were fully functional across Delhi to give refuge to the homeless during winter.
She underlined the need for creating proper awareness to ensure maximum utilisation of the capacity available in the 84 temporary and 66 permanent shelters. She told officials to work with NGOs to persuade homeless people to avail of the facilities. Rs. 6 crore has been provided for these facilities in the financial year 2012-2013.
Out of the 84 temporary night shelters, 70 are in porta cabin structures and 14 are in Basti Vikas Kendras, Dikshit said. All temporary night shelters in porta cabins have been upgraded to make them all-weather and fire resistant, she said.
The capacity of the temporary night shelters is 4,600 and the current occupancy is around 2,500. Further, 66 permanent shelters with a capacity of around 9,000 are functioning in permanent buildings where around 3,000 persons are using the facilities.
Dikshit instructed that no entry fee should be charged from the users since winter has started. An entry fee of R6 is charged per head for use in seasons other than winter.
The Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB) has been providing facilities such as blankets, durries, jute mats, water supply, first-aid, etc. The DUSIB coordinates with the department of health, the water utility, the municipal corporations, and the police for providing various services.