IF YOU are well-dressed and want to stay at a night shelter in the city then just think for a while before going there as you have to shell out some money for the stay. The staff hired by a contractor at the night shelters charges money from people, depending on their financial status. This came to light when a Chandigarh Newsline team visited the permanent night shelter homes located in Phase VI near Dara Studio and Phase 1 near the police station.
The staff charge up to Rs 50 for the night stay, which is not in the knowledge of Municipal Corporation officials.
Municipal Commissioner Sandeep Hans asserts that the MC has never asked the contractor to charge any money from the people staying at the night shelters. Both the night shelters are managed by the MC.
“It came to my notice today. I have asked the Joint Commissioner to inquire into the matter and take necessary action if anyone is violating the norms,” he said.
On Tuesday, the Chandigarh Newsline team visited a night shelter in Phase VI where a couple, Radha and Ramjivan, were present. They were responsible for giving rooms and halls to the people who come to stay at the night shelters.
“Hum aaj kal 50 rupee lete hai. Agar hume lage ki koi sahab theek thak hain, ache kapde pehne hai, to hum samajh jate hain ki wo paise de sakte hain. Yeh thodi der pehle hi paise lena shuru kiya hai. Jo koi garib hote hain, unko free mein hi rehne dete hain (Nowadays we are charging Rs 50. We judge from the clothes if they can pay the money or not. We started charging money a few days ago. We allow a free stay to the poor),” said Ramjivan.
Asked how they can charge money from people when the night shelters are free, he said that his contractor Rinku had asked him a few days ago to charge money.
“We do not know, since we are are working for the contractor. We are doing what he has asked us to do. We also give a receipt of the money we get from the people,” said Radha.
Local councillor R P Sharma maintains that the night shelters are free for all and there are no such directions to charge money from anyone.
“The contractor is being paid by the MC for taking care of the night shelter,” said Sharma. “How can he charge money?”
When contacted, contractor Rinku said that he had instructions to charge the money, but Rinku could not tell who had given him these instructions.