In a novel initiative, the Raipur district administration has decided to help the old people to ward off loneliness by providing them a facility to interact with other senior citizens and indulge in creative activities.
Under the project named 'Bapu ki Kutiya', around 50 attractive hut sheds will be set up exclusively for the elderly people in gardens and other public places where they can spend time, play games and watch television.
Chief Minister Raman Singh inaugurated the first such facility at the collectorate garden here on Saturday.
The initiative has been taken in view of the present scenario in the society where senior citizens want to spend time with other elderly people and make friends to overcome loneliness, a problem that often comes along with old age, Raipur collector O P Chaudhary told PTI.
The well-furnished facility in Raipur has been constructed at a cost of Rs 15 lakh by the Raipur Smart City Limited - an agency set for the implementation of the smart city project.
It is equipped with tables, chairs, coolers, television and radio sets, and around 30 to 35 people can sit together at a time to interact and develop congenial relations with co-visitors, Choudhary said.
Games like chess and carom boards have been kept in the hut sheds for the people to play and do something creative, the collector said, adding that newspapers and journals would also be provided to them.
The facilities will be maintained by self-service organisations and social groups.
"We have invited social groups and organisations which work or are willing to work for the welfare of the elderly persons, for the maintenance of these huts," Choudhary said.
"We will only be funding the construction of the structure and initial facilities. Later it will be looked after by social organisations," he said.
Around 50 huts will be set up in gardens and other public places across the state capital. The cost of setting up these facilities would to be borne by the district's social welfare department, he said.
Raipur Smart City Limited Managing Director Rajat Bansal said several social organisations are keen to come forward for the maintenance of these facilities.
"The maintenance was the biggest issue. Therefore, a condition was put forth that the hut shed will only be sanctioned as per the demand made by social organisations after they give an assurance to fully maintain it," he said.
Bansal expressed hope that the initiative will increase social interaction among the elderly people and help in keeping them active, healthy and