BHUBANESWAR: In absence of an adequate number of shelters for the urban homeless (SUHs), homeless people in Cuttack city are spending nights on roads and medians notwithstanding the heavy rains.
People sleeping on roads has become a common sight in road stretches from Station Bazaar to College Square and Ranihat.
Similarly, many poor homeless people take shelter on the footpaths, in front of shops and markets yards at Badambadi, Dolamundai, Haripur Road, Dargha Bazar, Tinikonia Bazar, Buxi Bazar, Mani Sahu Chowk, Nuapatana and Stadium road, Sikharpur and OMP square endangering their lives.
There are not enough SUHs in these areas to shelter them at the night. Most of these poor and homeless people hail from different parts of the State and work as either coolies or labourers or ragpickers at the railway station, bus stands and other commercial establishments.
“I earn `300 to `400 daily by working as a coolie at Cuttack railway station. There is no night shelter in the nearby area. The one located at Mangalabag Kathagola Sahi, about 2.5 km away from here, is always occupied. So when the weather is good, I sleep on the road divider and when there are rains, I spend the night at verandahs of shops,” said 42-year-old Pradip Naik of Nayagarh.
The CMC had constructed only six SUHs at Badambadi, Sishu Bhawan, Sati Chaura, Deula Sahi, Mangalabag and Jagatpur between 2009 and 2019. While the facility at Badambadi having a 24-bed capacity was demolished to pave the way for the Cuttack Netaji Bus Terminal (CNBT) at Khan Nagar a year back, the civic body closed the night shelter at Deula Sahi this month as no homeless person turned up for shelter.
At present, the civic body has only four-night shelters with availability of a total of 202 beds.
CMC Slum Improvement Officer (SIO) Swetapadma Satapathy said the homeless people are not interested in staying at SUHs, but added that effort is on to identification of land for the reconstruction of the demolished Badambadi SUH.