New Delhi: As the mercury is going down and chilly-day drifting closer, the Supreme Court has directed the state governments to take measures to prevent death due to cold. Ironically, each year in the absence of night shelters many poor people lose their lives.

Hearing a petition filed by People’s Union for Civil Liberties(PUCL), a bench comprising Justice Dalveer Bhandari and Deepak Mishra directed the Chief Secretaries of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Bihar, Jharkhand, Rajasthan, Punjab, Uttarakhand and Maharashtra to construct sufficient numbers of Raen Basera (night shelter) to prevent deaths due to cold waves.

The Apex Court has sought an affidavit from the respective state governments on the construction and the condition of night shelters before January 3 2012. It has also asked to do makeshift arrangement till final solution comes. The Court will again hear the petition on January 9.

In a report filed by the Delhi government, there are 64 permanent night shelters in the national capital. However, the PUCL has disapproved the tall claims and informed that out of 64 homes, only 24 are in running condition while 21 are closed and seven are defunct.