People keep themselves warm at Sakchi square on Tuesday evening. Picture by Bhola Prasad
As the mercury takes a dip in Jamshedpur, the East Singhbhum district administration has shown a warm gesture to pavement dwellers.
On Tuesday, the district administration distributed Rs 9.24 lakh among three local civic bodies — Jamshedpur Notified Area Committee (JNAC), Mango Notified Area Committee (MNAC) and Jugsalai Municipality — for purchasing firewood to light bonfires at places where poor people gather after dusk. The civic bodies wasted no time and immediately lit the fires at several locations.
The largesse comes at a time when minimum temperature in the city is hovering between 9°C and 11°C. The mercury meter read 10.2°C on Tuesday.
“The civic bodies, after identifying the places where they planned to light the bonfires, had given us a list. After receiving the sum required for the purpose from state disaster management fund, we distributed it,” said East Singhbhum additional deputy commissioner (ADC) Ganesh Kumar.
According to him, the fires will be lit up at select locations from 6.30pm everyday.
Some of the JNAC command areas where bonfires were spotted on Tuesday evening are auto-rickshaw stands at Baridih, Diagonal Road and near Sonari Airport; Bank of Baroda and Sakchi bus stands in Bistupur and Sakchi, respectively; Sitaramdera bus terminus; roundabouts of Kagalnagar, Durga Puja Maidan (Burmamines), MGM Hospital, Sakchi and Kalimati; areas near Shitla Mandir at Uliyan (Kadma), Ganesh Puja Maidan (Kadma), Food Plaza (Golmuri) and Bhuiyandih overbridge (Hume Pipe).
In Jugsalai municipality, people warmed up near Jugsalai railway crossing, Bata square, Naya Bazar, Chowk Bazar Dharamshala, Marwari Dharamshala; and Tatanagar Station, Kunwar Singh and Municipality roundabouts.
Pardih square, Mango roundabout and Dimna square are the places in MNAC area where people beat the chill.
“We are ready to provide firewood at other places too if it is brought to our notice that huge number of pavement dwellers are found there,” said JNAC special officer Dipak Sahay.
He added that around six quintal of woods would be used for bonfires daily, which would be ferried to different locations in JNAC vans.
“Wood is usually procured from retailers and scrap dealers at Rs 600 per quintal,” said an official of JNAC.
The district administration is also planning to write to state welfare department for distributing blankets among the poor and homeless in the city like it does in state capital Ranchi.
“We plan to write to the welfare department for granting funds to purchase blankets for the poor. If the plan materialises, it will be the first such instance when woollens will be distributed by the administration in the steel city,” ADC Kumar said.