Few takers for 35-bed night shelter at Domoria Bridge : The Tribune India

Tribune News Service

Deepkamal Kaur

Jalandhar, January 7

In these nearly freezing cold nights when night shelters set up in the city should have been filled to full capacity, the usual number of people using the facility is far too low.

The main night shelter at Domoria Bridge just adjoining the busy Jalandhar City Railway Station has a capacity to accommodate at least 28 men and seven women in two separate sections. The number of entries, however, ranges between just two to three.

The reason is that the MC officials have issued directions to the caretaker to ensure that the visitor carries his Aadhaar card details. Since most needy people languishing outside the railway station are without any ID card and are usually in a state of intoxication, they are not allowed entry here.

No woman has used this facility at least in the last one month, going by the register maintained at the shelter. Even the caretaker deployed by the MC at the night shelter Happy Singh said, “Women rarely come to stay here overnight even though there is a separate dormitory for them.”

For the same reason, the Aam Aadmi Party leaders are contemplating on using a part of the building for setting up Aam Aadmi Clinics, which are set to be opened in the second phase on January 26. Dinesh Dhall, AAP leader, along with health officials , visited the site today to check if a part of the night shelter, which is not drawing a good response, could be used for the purpose.

The second night shelter under Lyallpur Khalsa College overbridge has eight beds, all of which are used by the same set of people on daily basis. Hawkers near the night shelter said, “This place has been occupied permanently by eight shelterless men who stay here in the night daily. No one else is allowed entry. Even if some needy passenger from the adjoining bus stand area asks for shelter in the night, they do not let him in. For the record, they make new fake entries of eight people on a daily basis.”

MC Commissioner Abhijeet Kaplish said, “Ever since winters started, I have sent my teams to check the condition at the night shelters and see if the visitors were getting the needed facilities. My staff has also been going around in the dark and asking the poor to use the night shelters. Some beggars are not ready to move inside the night shelters. Still, we will try to remove certain discrepancies that are there in the system.”

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