Agra: As the mercury dipped, Good Samaritans in the heritage city have come together to open night shelters for poor and homeless, who had earlier nowhere to go except some municipal run 'raen baseras'.
A local voluntary agency, Sri Nath ji Nishulk Jal Sewa, has opened four night shelters and is planning for two more. This shelter offers beds, quilts and the warmth of a bonfire for the inmates who choose to stay overnight.
"Every winter, we open a dozen such 'raen baseras' at busy road crossings or outside stations or bus stands. A bonfire is lit outside to keep the inmates warm," Bankey Lal Maheshwari, chief of Sri Nathji Nishulk Jal Sewa, said.
Another Good Samaritan, MC Gupta, says that decision makers do not bother about the needs of common people.
"Concern for such small needs of common people has rarely bothered our decision makers. But service for the common man in any form is a true religion," said MC Gupta, a physician widely known and respected in Agra.
Other than homeless, a large number of poor people arrive in the city by trains and buses in the night and often find them-selves without shelter in chilly weather. For such people, our night shelters are a great facility, Maheshwari said.
Locals claim that night shelters being run Agra Municipal Corporation lack facilities. Mental hospital night shelter has also been opened with support from the Rotary Club of Agra.