December 17, 2016 4:11:12 am
The dip in night temperatures in the city is adding to the miseries of family members of patients who have no place to stay and are forced to sleep out in the open at PGIMER. The UT administration this year is yet to install night shelters which come up at several places during the winters in the city. A visit by Chandigarh Newsline on Thursday night revealed a large number of people sleeping outside PGI. Those sleeping out under the sky were mostly family members of patients.
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“My wife is a heart patient and we have been here for her treatment since the last 15 days. We have no place to go and are sleeping in the open. We both remain awake for most of the night because it is too cold now,” said Naresh Singh, a resident of Saharanpur in UP.
Nathu Ram, a patient from Bijnore, told Chandigarh Newsline that he had come a few years ago to Chandigarh for treatment and had lived in a tent during winters. “There should be some facility available for people like me. I even spent some nights inside the PGI Gurdwara, but that is not a place to live because patients are too sick there,” he said.
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Night temperatures in the city have fallen in the last few days. Unlike last year, the city is witnessing much colder nights and also dense fog this year.
“Last year, there was not much cold. It lasted only for a few days,” said Kawaljeet Singh, a rickshaw-puller. “I have usually been sleeping outside the PGIMER for two years.”
Every year, temporary night shelters are put up in different locations in the city and are thrown open for homeless people from December 15. Last year, the department made temporary arrangements for homeless people at 10 different places, including Sector 22, Sector 20, Sector 19, Sector 27, at the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Sector 16 and at the Inter-State Bus Terminal, Sector 43. However, this year the work for setting up night shelters will start from December 21 as the model code of conduct will be in force till December 20.
“We will start setting up the night shelters in the city from December 21. Tenders have already been floated,” said the nodal officer for night shelters at the social welfare department, Kehar Singh. He said that the department couldn’t install these shelters as a model code of conduct is in place in the city.
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