Berhampur: Homeless poor of this silk hub in south Odisha may have to spend the freezing cold nights on the streets as the shelter constructed by Berhampur Municipal Corporation (BMC) is yet to start functioning.

Inaugurated in May last year, the two-storeyed building had come up at the old bus stand area here.

While the ground floor was let out to Aahara Kendra for distribution of subsidised meals at Rs 5 each, the first floor of the building was earmarked for the night shelter. At least 30 people can seek shelter there at a time.

"BMC had floated a tender inviting private firms to manage the night shelter. But no one came forward to take charge. Therefore, we have decided to turn it into a shelter for the urban homeless people. The concept is almost similar allowing the poor people of the town to seek shelter here for nominal charges. One can stay here for two months at the most," said BMC Commissioner Sushant Mishra.

He, however, added that it would take some more time for the place to start functioning. "The proposal needs to be approved in the council meeting. Moreover, the corporators will decide the modalities of its function," said Mishra.

Meanwhile, the BMC is mulling the construction of two more night shelters at the new bus stand and Lanjipalli areas.

This follows a government directive to build shelters to accommodate the homeless people during the night.

While the construction of the shelter home at Lanjipalli area has already started at an estimated cost of around Rs 96 lakh, work for a similar building at the new bus stand area is yet to begin. Once complete, the night shelter at Lanjipalli would be able to accommodate 100 people at a time, officials said.