Destitute people spending a chilly night under the Lakkar Bridge near Clock Tower in Ludhiana in the absence of night shelters.(Gurpreet Singh/HT)
Destitute people spending a chilly night under the Lakkar Bridge near Clock Tower in Ludhiana in the absence of night shelters.(Gurpreet Singh/HT)

Homeless brave the wrath of winter as Ludhiana MC dilly-dallies opening of shelters

Five permanent shelters lying closed despite the chill setting in; MC chief says will hold meeting to discuss implementation of Covid protocols soon.
By Harsimran Singh Batra | Hindustan Times, Ludhiana, Ludhiana
PUBLISHED ON DEC 01, 2020 11:22 PM IST

Even as the winter chill is tightening its grip on the city, the homeless are still without a roof to protect them.

The city has five permanent night shelters, but the municipal corporation (MC) has yet to open their doors, forcing the homeless to bear the cold on roadsides.

Besides the permanent night shelters situated at Haibowal, near Clock Tower, Moti Nagar and Millerganj, the civic body was to come up with temporary shelters in more areas, but there has been no progress.

This, despite the fact that the city witnessed its coldest November day since 1997 on the 25th with a maximum temperature of 19°C, while November 21 also recorded the lowest minimum temperature since 1975 – at 5.2°C.

A visit to the night shelters near Clock Tower and in Millerganj area revealed their doors were closed, with the destitute making do with cardboards and quilts nearby.

“We asked the MC staffers to let us in, but they replied that the shelters have not been opened yet and the authorities are making arrangements,” said Gopal, while waiting outside the shelter near Clock Tower.

An MC official, requesting anonymity, said normally, the shelters were opened for the homeless by the last week of November. But, this year, the chill set in earlier, catching the staff by surprise, while they had made no arrangements to implement the Covid-19 safety protocols.

MC commissioner Pardeep Sabharwal said, “I have already directed the officials concerned to deliberate upon what steps can be taken to open the night shelters while following the Covid-19 guidelines issued by the government. I will conduct a meeting with the officials in a day or two, following which these centres will be opened. MC is also working on establishing temporary shelters.”

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