The destitute and homeless in Gurgaon may have to brave the harsh winter in the open as the Municipal Corporation of Gurgaon (MCG) is yet to make necessary arrangements in the two night shelters operated by the civic agency in Bhim Nagar and Kanhai villages.
While a senior MCG official, who manages the two shelters, claimed that all facilities were in place to accommodate the homeless, a visit to the shelters revealed a different story.
At Bhim Nagar, the night shelter was relatively clean but no effort has been made to provide accommodation to the homeless, a majority of whom are labourers and rickshaw pullers.
A name board, which was earlier at the entrance of the building, is now in a dusty corner. Mattresses and quilts, which are required when the mercury drops further, were lying unkempt, covered with dust.
A worker at the night shelter admitted that no work has begun to make the nigh shelter operational.
The situation is similar in the second night shelter at Kanhai.
Mahender Singh, the city project officer, who manages the shelters, however, had a different take on the situation. Singh claimed that the two shelters at Bhim Nagar and Kanhai village community centre were ready to accommodate the homeless.
“We have made all arrangements for people to stay at these places at night. The beddings are ready, arrangement for food has been made and caretakers are on the job to provide a safe stay to people,” he said.
Despite the project officer’s claims, the arrangements right now are clearly not adequate, particularly at the Kanhai shelter where even rudimentary facilities were not in place.
An employee at the Kanhai shelter said though arrangements in these shelters could be made easily, there has been a state of inertia among the corporation officials. “We need a sanitation worker and a gardener. A lot of maintenance work is pending as well. Also, more monitoring and field visits are needed to obtain feedback,” he said.
Apart from these two shelters, the MCG will utilise six buses, which have been converted to night shelters when the temperature dips further. The buses will be parked at Iffco Chowk, Rajiv Chowk, Dundahera and other crowded places where people need shelter.