New Delhi, March 24 (IANS) The Delhi government has started the facility of providing lunch and dinner to all in need through its night shelters across the city and data reveals that over 10,000 people have been given food per day since Sunday.
The Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB) — an independent department under the Delhi government — has been operating and managing 234 Shelter Homes at various locations in Delhi on a 24 hour basis through the Shelter Management Agencies (SMAs).
According to the data from the DUSIB, the night occupancy in the 234 shelters on March 15 was 8,084.
“The number of people eating at the shelters has been swelling since the Chief Minister made the announcement that anyone can take food from the shelters. However, we are well prepared for the increasing numbers,” a DUSIB official told IANS.
Over 10,000 people are eating at the shelters, according to the data from DUSIB, while 9,000 are staying in the facilities as of Tuesday.
“A number of people were living on roads or in religious places. A good number of rickshaw pullers were living inside their vehicles. Now with lockdown, they are moving to the nearest shelters. We are more than happy to welcome and serve them,” the DUSIB said.
The places are being sanitised at regular intervals and the people there are being told about the coronavirus, the official said.
On the increasing number of people coming for food, the shelter body says that it was on the first day when people gathered in large numbers.
“We told them about social distancing. They have been careful to eat in shifts. The people are also ensuring that they keep themselves clean. Also, a number of people are bringing tiffins and taking food with them.”
The official said the people are being told that boosting immunity is also important and so they must keep coming and eating till the fear of coronavirus lasts.
“There has been a lack of awareness among the masses about food being provided here. We urge all to spread the message so that no one is left hungry.”
Thermometers have also been arranged to check if anyone is having fever. Proper handwashing arrangements have also been made at the shelters, the official said.
With the numbers increasing constantly, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday announced that the government will increase the number of shelters and will also make additional arrangements for food.
The DUSIB numbers say it had 17 rescue teams which helped in shifting 11,235 homeless to the nearest Shelter Homes between November 15, 2019 and March 15.
While anyone can go and have food in these shelters, there are arrangements for people who want to stay.
“Durries, Mattresses, Bed-sheet, Pillow and Blankets were given along with Locker facility for keeping belongings, as per the availability,” the DUSIB official said.
The DUSIB is also providing electricity and lighting arrangements along with toilet, bathing and drinking water facilities.
“Television, air coolers in summer season and hot water in winter season are also provided wherever available,” the official said.
Delhi has been under curfew since Tuesday as a preventive step. A total of 30 COVID-19 cases have been reported in Delhi.