Night shelters: Civic body’s new headache

Although the Mayor has announced that civic body night shelters will remain open throughout the day for poor and homeless in wake of biting cold and plummeting temperatures, but in reality shelters are proving to be a matter of headache for civic body officials with reports of stealing, poor hygiene and lack of use.

The civic body has two night shelters in the city, one near Manju cinema and other near Clock tower. It also provides beddings for poor near the Durga mata mandir cycle stand. Requesting anonymity, one of the MC officials managing Clock tower night shelter, said: "The MC is always blamed for not providing facilities at night shelters, but actual situation is totally different. Not only people show no interest in coming here and prefer temples and gurudwaras, those who come steal beddings and pillows and run away. We are actually fed up of getting these things again and again. No matter how many times we get pillows they are always stolen and in the end MC is blamed."

Another official managing Manju cinema night shelter said: "Some people are so careless and unhygienic that they do no even hesitate in urinating and defecating where we serve free food to the people. No one wants to sleep there at night. Everybody sees MC's carelessness but not the filth that people create. We cannot clean for 24 hours."

The Manju cinema night shelter is owned by the MC, while the Clock tower night shelter is on rent. "We are paying Rs 49,000 per month, but it is of no benefit as not even 20 people come,"said the source.

MC has arranged only 20 beddings each in both shelters along with food and blanket arrangements in wake of lukewarm response from poor.

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