- Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation has launched a drive to turn Hyderabad into a “Beggar Free” city
- Most beggars in the city are part of an organised racket
- The civic body is also asking the citizens of Hyderabad not to give alms to the beggars
When Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu’s package of Rs. 10,000 was rejected by the beggars last year, in 2015, one could not help but wonder how much these beggars earn. The Chief Minister wanted to keep Pushkaram Ghats in Rajahmundry free of beggars and offered them Rs. 10,000 and had decided to provide them food so that they would not crowd at the ghats but the offer was declined by nearly 300 beggars.
Now, the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation has launched a drive to turn Hyderabad into a “Beggar Free” city by providing a permanent solution to the beggars. But 98 percent of the 14,000-strong population of beggars in the city, with the annual income of more than Rs 24 crore are categorised as “fake beggars” by the civic body. Most beggars in the city are part of an organised racket, the Corporation maintains and indulge in illegal activities under the guise of begging.
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“We are ready to help the genuine beggars. But people who have chosen begging as a profession and are doing illegal activities will be punished by law. We are starting a toll-free number for people to complain if they face any nuisance from beggars. If you find any beggar, bring them to us and we will take care of them,” said Hyderabad Mayor Bonthu Ram Mohan to Scroll.in.
Scroll. in quoted a survey that states- on an average, a beggar earns Rs 1,000-2,000 per day, operating with an annual income of more than Rs 24 lakhs. “People of other states are joining these beggars to commit crimes. These beggars are into drugs, prostitution and money lending. They are spoiling the city,” claimed B Shankar Narayanan, General Secretary of Federation of NGOs of Beggar Free Society.
In an attempt to help the genuine beggars, the municipal corporation appeals them to register themselves for rehabilitation and promises food and shelter. They are also promising training for those who want to work, school enrollment for children and a place to stay for the elderly in old age homes.
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The civic body is also asking the citizens of Hyderabad not to give alms to the beggars. “Beggars are not leaving their profession because people give money in temples and mosques due to their sentiments. In our roadshows, we say: ‘Not only punish the beggars who are begging also punish the people who are giving. said Narayana to Scroll.in.
Several discussions are being held to provide alms and work to the beggars. One such plan is to ask all the visitors to temples not to give money to the beggars but rather drop it in the ‘hundi’. The beggars registered with the temple will receive money from the ‘hundi’ accordingly. “We are going to catch all the beggars – they have to give their addresses. If they have a family, we will send them back and we will send genuine beggars to rehabilitation centres,” said Narayanan.
The 2,500 Sulabh toilets are coming up in the city that could provide employment to these beggars and could also help build the city. There are only a few toilets in the city and they too lack the manpower to maintain them. Employment to 2,500 people with an income of Rs 200 per day can be generated by this initiative, reported Scroll.
-This report is modified by Ajay Krishna, a staff-writer at NewsGram.
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