Bhopal: The people of Bhopal welcomed the new year with great fervour. There were celebrations in over a dozen venues across the city where people swayed to the beats of dance numbers and enjoyed the feast on offer.
Pratima Dixit, a student says," I celebrated the new year with my family here at the hotel, we danced and relished the good food. Though it was raining, we had great fun. I am thankful to god that I am able to celebrate the new year with my family. "
But not all were as fortunate as Pratima; for hundreds of homeless people, new years eve was just like any other day - filled with hardships. The last few weeks in particular, have been quite harsh with rain adding to the severe cold conditions. Bus stands have been the only shelter available to many homeless across the city.
Santosh Kumar Singh, a daily wager told NDTV, "New year is nothing special for us, as everyday is a struggle for us. Our worry is employment. If we do not get work tomorrow, then we will have nothing to eat. With no roof over our heads, its really difficult to survive in this harsh weather."
Ironically, on the first floor of a bus stand complex is a government run night shelter, but it is packed like the remaining 13 shelters in the area, forcing hundreds to sleep in the open.
45 year old daily wager Raju Kushwaha has been sleeping in the open for a decade now. He had a family and a roof over his head but he lost everything to a family dispute.
He says,"New year is just another day for me. I continue to struggle in poverty, I have no one to celebrate with."