For Lahore’s homeless, home is where the Panagah is

LAHORE: On November 10, Prime Minister Imran Khan broke floor for the development of tent shelters in Lahore to supply a roof to homeless folks. Beneath the banner of ‘Panagah’ these shelters are to be short-term till everlasting constructions are constructed.

Till days in the past, folks have been sleeping alongside virtually all main intersections, markets, and bus and railway stations. Nonetheless, now there may be hope that the image of the town will get higher with this initiative which the PM himself has claimed is the “first step in direction of remodeling Pakistan right into a welfare state”.

Following the PM’s orders, the Punjab authorities has arrange makeshift shelters at Knowledge Darbar, Railway Station and Thokar Lorry Adda. There are tents functioning close to the Railway Station, Thokar Niaz Baig and Sabzi Mandi. One tent can accommodate 30 to 70 homeless folks or travellers who often recline on the footpaths. They’re supplied free pillows, mattresses, comforters, and meals, together with breakfast and dinner.

Muhammad Rafiq, who hails from Faisalabad, spent an evening on the shelter close to railway station. He has a steel rod fitted in his arm resulting from an accident this yr.

Speaking to Pakistan Right now, he mentioned that he has slept at ‘very costly’ lodges the place one bug ridden mattress value him Rs70. Compared to that, he’s very happy by the services. “PM Imran has achieved an incredible factor for us. One thing like this has by no means occurred and hasn’t even been considered,” he mentioned.

Abdul Rehman belongs to Chakwal and continuously visits Lahore. Beforehand, he used to remain on the station as a result of he couldn’t afford resort lease and was on the mercy of policemen bullying him for cash. Now, he lauds the initiative and plans to spend an evening on the shelter.

Mohammad Fayaz, a social welfare officer who overlooks the morning shift on the shelter, mentioned that 50 folks keep there daily. “Some come again after their every day work, and now we have safety officers to maintain a examine on them by noting their NIC numbers in a register and inspecting baggage,” he mentioned.

He warded off considerations that these shelters had a possible for changing into nests for drug addicts. “Addicts need privateness and will not be very eager on coming to the shelter,” he added.

“There are extra folks at breakfast and dinner, whereas few truly keep after dinner. The carpeted tent is maintained with heaters, mattress, blankets and pillows and is cleaned no less than twice a day,” he added.

There’s no association but for girls and kids at these shelters.

“Lodging are being made for girls and kids within the concrete shelter being made just a few paces away. LDA says it should full it by January 20, 2019,” he revealed.

One other social welfare employee, Raza Sajid instructed Pakistan Right now that there isn’t a official instruction but as to how lengthy an individual can keep. Nonetheless, folks should go away within the morning. They need to additionally take their baggage with them.

“The variety of folks enhance at time for dinner, even the railway travellers come to eat, together with every day wage staff. Smooth containers of meals arrive. Further meals is shipped again unopened.”

On the Thokar Niaz Baig shelter, Pakistan Right now spoke to Farzand Ali who’s a supervisor of the social welfare division. “There may be lodging right here for 30 folks. A mosque subsequent to the shelter serves for bathroom services. A constructing is being constructed proper subsequent to it and is predicted to develop into a everlasting shelter inside 40 days.”

Nonetheless, he reiterated that ladies desire to not take shelter at these Panagahs. Largely, they’re frequented by every day wage staff and meals seekers.

Speaking to Pakistan Right now, Punjab Social Welfare and Baitul Maal Secretary Ambreen Raza mentioned that shelters setup in tents are presently being managed by the Lahore Deputy Commissioner’s workplace.

“My division is barely chargeable for the everlasting shelters. I’ve not been given any price range for the short-term ones, although I’ve supplied for the employees that’s giving responsibility there,” she mentioned.

Raza mentioned that 5 everlasting constructions being made close to the short-term shelter tents must be prepared by the tip of January, including that the most important shelter will likely be at Knowledge Darbar which may have a capability of lodging 250 folks.

The remaining 4 shelters have the capability of 125 individuals, she added.

“The price range for these 5 everlasting Panagahs is Rs383 million of which Rs335m have been allotted for building whereas the remaining quantity will likely be spent on shopping for furnishings and different tools,” she mentioned.

The official mentioned that presently her division is engaged on the SOPs [Standard Operating Procedures] i.e. “who we will maintain there, how lengthy they will keep there, and tips on how to handle them”.

“We wish to embody the civil society on this challenge and have supplied one other channel for these organisations which can be already doing social work. These donations are taken by the DC workplace,” she added.

On being requested why such an initiative had not been taken earlier than, Raza mentioned, “Each authorities has its personal priorities. It is a determination by our present political management which now we have applied.”

She mentioned that the Social Welfare Division is already managing completely different sorts of shelters. “We have now previous age houses and orphanages, together with shelters for misplaced and located kids. We even have services for beggars who’re rounded up and so forth. So we’re already working shelters, however not like these, the credit score of which fits to the political authorities,” she concluded.

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