Despite night shelters, life is difficult for homeless

Balasore/Berhampur: While normal life has been adversely hit due to intense cold wave across Odisha, homeless residents in Balasore and Berhampur are struggling to survive.

Though several night shelters have been set up by the government, some residents have alleged that due to insufficient space people are spending the night under the open sky.

“I am sleeping under the open sky in cold as there are no sufficient spaces in the night shelter homes,” said a homeless woman.

Similarly shops and business establishments are shut after 8pm as the footfall of customers are gradually decreasing in the night hours.

“In the last 2-3 days intense cold wave has gripped Balasore. The markets are wearing a deserted look after the evening as it’s almost painful to venture outdoors due to the cold. We are facing difficulties to open up shops in the morning hours,” a local trader said.

Sources said, as Simlipal and other forests are near Balasore, the impact of the cold waves is more in comparison to other places.

Similarly the situation is no different in Berhampur as the homeless are spending nights under the open sky in severe cold conditions despite presence of night shelters in the area.

Some people claimed that they were unaware of the shelter houses. So they were forced to sleep at the railway station and bus stand.

On the other hand the Commissioner of Berhampur Municipal Corporation informed that several night shelters have been constructed by the government for the homeless and poor.

While the State government has issued a cold wave alert, Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) forecast that night temperature is likely to fall further by 2 to 3 degrees at several places in the next 2-3 days.