DM orders bonfires for chill shield

WARM UP: People hurdle around a bonfire near Patna Junction roundabout. Telegraph picture

Patna: The district administration on Friday set up bonfires around Patna to shield slum dwellers and people living on the streets from the biting cold.

Patna district magistrate Sanjay Kumar Agarwal issued instruction to all sub-divisional officers (SDOs) to conduct random inspections at places picked for the bonfires. On Friday, bonfires were lit at 100 places in Patna district.

The decision followed after Patna experienced its first day cold conditions this winter. The bonfires were at prominent places in the city where poor people and labourers stay - like bus stands, railway stations, nearby hospitals, auto and rickshaw stands.

"I want all the SDOs to make random inspections at least 10 places in their jurisdiction. I also want them to send a photograph on my WhatsApp number to maintain transparency. There is no scarcity of money in the relief fund and the administration is always willing to help the people," Agarwal said at a meeting at the collectorate office. He has also asked additional district magistrate (relief) Mohammad Mohujuddin to ensure bonfires stay lit at every place for at least four hours from 6pm.

Residents expressed satisfaction with the arrangements made by the district administration.

"It is good that the district administration has made this arrangement but it is not enough. It should also provide us blankets because it's very cold. Once the bonfire is extinguished, we do not have any other facilities so blankets will at least keep us warm," said Manttu, a rickshaw-puller near the Station Road area.

With cold condition prevailing in Patna, Agarwal on Friday ordered all academic activities up to Class VIII in government and private schools closed till January 2.

"Seeing the cold condition, all classes up to Class VIII will remain closed till January 2. It is the duty of the district education officer and sub-divisional officer to ensure its implementation," Agarwal said.

Patna Municipal Corporation also made bonfires at R-Block, Chinakothi, Mithapur bus stand, and the Hartali night shelter among other places in the city.

The RJD youth wing distributed blankets at Yarpur, Beerchand Patel Marg, Haj Bhavan and Patna High Court area under the leadership of the wing's state secretary, Rishi Yadav.


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