New Delhi, Dec 15: Providing some succour from the biting cold to the homeless, the Delhi government on Friday announced that it will serve breakfast of 'tea and rusk' to residents of its night shelters from Saturday, till the end of January.
Announcing its 'winter action plan', the Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB) said a four-member medical team will visit the night shelters twice a week to take account of the infirm, and the shelters will also serve breakfast to all the residents -- free of cost.
"Morning tea and rusk in all shelters shall be provided during winter from December 16 to January 31, 2018. We have roped in other departments as well. A team of four doctors will be deployed twice a week to visit the night shelters, which will start from Monday," Shurbir Singh, CEO, DUSIB, told reporters here.
He said Mohalla clinics have been directed to cater to the night shelters in their vicinity. The visits will be done between 7 p.m. and 11 p.m. as this is time when people are most likely to be found in shelters.
At present, 83 shelters have been equipped with geysers and many others are furnished with electricity and TV sets for the entertainment of the residents.
"We have reserved 20 night shelters for women as well and installed CCTVs there for their safety," Singh said.
The board said it is running 251 shelters in total with 83 of them housed in permanent buildings and 113 operated out of porta-cabins. A total of 55 temporary shelters (tents) have been erected by the board only for the winter season.
Although they can accommodate close to 20,000 inmates, there are only about 10,000 homeless people who are using these shelters, another board member said, adding that there are about 40,000 homeless people in the Delhi-NCR, according to the latest census.
"However, the figure (of homeless) is very far from accurate because of the floating population which is constituted by those coming in from other states temporarily," he said.
To bring homeless to the shelters, 20 rescue teams will also be pressed into service by the department, which will be on round every night and can be accessed by the citizens who want to report on the homeless anywhere by dialling a 24X7 control room number (011-23378789/8527898295/96) and a 'Rain Basera' mobile application.
The DUSIB chief also said that the AIIMS subway -- where hundreds waiting outside the hospital take refuge during night -- will be opened from Saturday. The subway has been locked.