Residents shop for woollens in Ranchi on Tuesday. Picture by Hardeep Singh
The chill is back in the Ranchi air along with the concern about how to keep the homeless and destitute snug and warm this winter.
For one, the district administration has purchased more than 7,000 blankets, which, officials said, would be soon distributed among the needy in various parts of the state capital. Warm clothes will also be given to them.
“We have procured close to 7,145 blankets this year, all of which will be distributed among pavement-dwellers. Our deputy commissioner Vinay Kumar Choubey, with a team of senior officials, will conduct a recce of the city in the next couple of days to hand over the blankets to the needy,” said Hanna Tirkey, additional director, social security cell of the district administration.
According to rough estimates, Ranchi has around 1,000 people who live in the open or on the streets.
The local meteorological office said the temperature in the capital had been hovering around the 12°C mark with the mercury set to dip further in the coming days.
While the minimum temperature recorded on Sunday was 12.5°C, it fell by 0.3 °C on Monday. The met office recorded a minimum temperature of 11.2°C on Tuesday while the maximum reading hovered around the comfortable 25 °C mark.
“We believe that the mercury will touch the 10°C mark in a week or so or even go below that,” said G.K. Mohanty, director of the Ranchi Met office.
Balram, the state’s adviser to the Supreme Court commissioner on social security, told The Telegraph that the raen baseras in the capital did not have too many occupants.
Balram, who along with RMC deputy mayor Ajay Nath Shahdeo went on a round of the city a fortnight ago to take stock of the condition of street dwellers, said the homeless preferred spending their nights under the open sky than stay in the night shelter.
“We visited all 11 raen baseras in the city. What we found is rather surprising. The homeless prefer spending their nights on the pavements. The civic body needs to conduct massive awareness campaigns about the night shelters as soon as possible,” Balram said.
Sources said that after last year, RMC had stocked up the raen baseras with adequate number of mattresses and provided other facilities like drinking water. However, as most of the shelters were far from the main streets, the poor gave them a skip.
“If required, we will also buy warm clothes for people making their way to the night shelters. We will continue issuing public notices in this regard,” said Naresh Sinha, public relations officer of RMC.
Apart from this, the district administration has also decided to light bonfires within the next week or so.