Rain Baseras are night shelters for homeless people in Delhi. On January 6, 2018, we visited the Rain Basera outside the premises of AIIMS as part of our mass communication assignment. Our objective was to interact with the people present and observe the arrangments there. We had also planned to interview some patients to see how they were coping with having to stay outside the hospital in this bitter winter.
We talked to some of the people there. I met a person from Chapra, Bihar. I asked him the reason for his being there. He told me that his wife and daughter were ill and were receiving treatment at AIIMS. Before coming to Delhi, they had consulted a doctor in their hometown and he had referred them to Delhi’s AIIMS.
Next, I asked them about where they were staying. He answered that they were staying in the Rain Basera below the metro station. To get all the advantages of the Rain Basera, they had to deposit their Aadhaar card or patient department slip.
Rain Baseras have been set up by the Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB), an agency of the Delhi government.
We talked to a couple – Salim Khan (57) and Heena Ashraf (55). They had come from Bareily because the doctor there had referred them to AIIMS. While the man had some psychology-related problem, the woman was suffering from frequent fevers.
These people adored the facilities provided by the Delhi government. However, they complained about the toilet facilities. Public toilets remained closed from 11:00 pm to 5:00 am. They could only use them if they paid for it, although they were supposed to be free facilities.
Salim further informed us that he was worried about the date of consultation. Since he had come from the village, he could not look after his farm. Moreover, it was very expensive for them to come for treatment as a lot of money had to be spent on travelling. He also said that night shelters were in greater demand during winters. In warmer months, many preferred to sleep on the streets. Because of the stinky toilet and the noise, some people compared living in a Rain Basera to living on the streets.
Some other families were of the opinion that if the appointment or waiting time for consultation with the doctor was reduced for people who were coming from outside Delhi, then the rush could be tackled and Rain Baseras could be utilised more effectively.