About a fortnight after the horrific incident of rape of a four-year-old girl residing at the riverside, Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has announced a plan to establish 10 night shelters for the underprivileged and beggars in the city. Work on four shelters has been completed, and they are going to become operational soon.
“In a survey carried out by the civic body, we found a total of 854 people residing on the footpath, who have no roof over them at night. The proposed shelters will accommodate these persons. We found the maximum number of such people at Ghole Road and Pune station area,” additional municipal commissioner Rajendra Jagtap said.
Each lodging will have capacity to accommodate 30 people, and in areas where the demand is high, additional shelters would be set up. The PMC survey found 400 homeless people at Ghole Road, which includes Shivajinagar area. Kasba Peth and Vishrambaug are occupied by 300 such folks. Other suburbs like Dhole Patil Road (80), Yerawada (80) and Sahakar Nagar (40) have comparatively fewer homeless people.
“The four night shelters, erected at Senadatta Police Chowky in Navi Peth, Moledina Hall near Pune station, Mother Teresa Samaj Mandir at Yerawada and Dudh Bhatti at Bopodi, will start soon,” Jagtap told MiD DAY.
Spots for setting up these shelters at Bibwewadi, Dhankawadi and Sahakar Nagar are yet to be identified. Speaking on this development, Shiv Sena spokesperson Neelam Gorhe said, “I had raised the issue of night shelters before PMC commissioner Mahesh Pathak at least six months ago. It seems finally the civic body has decided to act on it.”
However, Gorhe urged that the responsibility of running the shelters should be only given to genuine NGOs. “In past there have been instances of ruling party corporators appointing NGOs with the vested interests, and in the process the main issue got sidelined. I suggest the child welfare committee monitor these shelters. I will raise the issue in the state assembly,” she added.
No of homeless people in the city, according to the Pune Municipal Corporation survey