Thirteen-year-old Ravi spends most of his winter nights under Wave City Centre Metro bridge. The teenager and his ragpicker friends say they never get a sound sleep during the season as it is quite chilly in the open.
For Ravi and other homeless people like him in the city, surviving the winter is a huge challenge.
“This is my second winter in the city. Last year, I fell sick due to the severe cold. We do not have any money, where can we go for a safe shelter?” Ravi said.
The sole makeshift night shelter (rain basera) set up every year at the Noida Stadium in Sector 21A will be operational from December 1.
However, not many stay at the shelter as most of the poor people cannot afford to travel to the shelter daily.
It is estimated that around 400 homeless people live in the city. The night shelter has been constructed by the Noida authority and can accommodate 60 persons at a time. The shelter will be equipped with 100 blankets, firewood and drinking water.
Deepak Kumar, a rickshaw-puller, lost his hutment a few months ago because he could not pay the rent. Now, he spends night on the pavement near the Botanical Garden Metro station.
“I am aware that the government constructs night shelters at Noida Stadium. But after a tiring day, it is difficult for me to travel five-six kms to reach there. Many other rickshaw-pullers and vendors sleep in the open in this area,” Kumar said.
According to Saumya Srivastava, deputy chief executive officer of the Noida authority, they are planning to set up another night shelter near the Botanical Garden bus stand.
“Since a lot of rickshaw-pullers and vendors sleep in the open near the Botanical Garden bus stand, we are planning to set up a makeshift night shelter there to cater to this population. It will also be able to accommodate 60 persons. The final decision will be taken on Monday and, if the plan is approved, the shelter will be constructed within a week,” Srivastava said.