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Noida authority sets up night shelter with fewer beds to prevent spread of Covid-19

By Kushagra Dixit, Noida
PUBLISHED ON NOV 26, 2020 10:54 PM IST

With the winter season setting in, the Noida authority has set up a night shelter at the Noida Stadium in Sector 21A. This time, however, the authority is taking extra precautions, keeping in mind Covid-19 protocols.

Due to the pandemic, the holding capacity of the shelter has been reduced from 70 in 2019 to 37 this year in a bid to ensure social distancing among the inmates of the shelter, said officials.

Every year, the solitary night shelter of the city is set up near gate number five of the Noida Stadium. Active from 7pm to 7am every day, and being operational for the past two days, the shelter will have all the usual facilities such as bedding, blankets, toilets and a fire, along with arrangements to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

“There are 37 bedding facilities, separate for men and women, with separate toilets. What’s different this year is that the health department teams will sanitise the facility twice a day, including the blankets. Further, prior to the entrance, temperature will be checked and their hands and feet of those who seek shelter will be sanitised,” said Rahul Sharma, senior manager, Noida authority.

He added that only a few occupants, all men, have started seeking shelter at the facility, since it opened in November 22.

“There are a fewer number of occupants for night shelters in Noida this year. However, their numbers might increase as the winter progresses. Last year too, the average maximum capacity of the shelter reached nearly 18 inmates. The number would increase as the winter peaks or during fog. In many cases, the occupants are drunkards or addicts, who are picked up and dropped off by the police at the shelter,” said Sharma.

According to the officials, the authority also sets up a small timber fire at the shelter every year to keep the inates warm.

“Right now, we have not started the campfire here, but it will be started soon as the temperature drops,” added Sharma.

According to the shelter’s entry register, only three people stayed at the camp on the first day of the opening of the shelter on November 22. This has increased to eight people by November 25.

One such inmate named Muhammad Talib shared his experience. He said that many labourers are getting to know about the shelter from word-of-mouth publicity.

“The stay was fine and social distancing protocols were followed. The caretaker of the shelter took our temperature using a thermal scanner and asked us to sanitise our hands. I have been staying at the facility for the past three days and have informed some of my friends, who joined me today,” said Muhammad Talib, a labourer from Hapur district.

“The number of people have increased a little, but there is still ample space in the camp. So I am not worried to lose my spot at night, at least for now,” said Tarun Kumar, another labourer from Hapur.

Asked what if the number of people who need shelter increases with a further drop in temperature, officials said that they have made alternate arrangements.

“Another night shelter is being set up in Sector 135 and it will stay on the stand-by till required. It will be used in case the number of people increases. Social distancing will be maintained and clean blankets and bedding will be provided,” said a senior official, who did not want to be named.

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On the brighter side, 21 more patients got discharged during the period with the overall recoveries reaching 24,952, the fifth highest in the state.(PTI)
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