The Yogi Adityanath government is making a renewed effort to rehabilitate beggars. A pilot project is this regard will soon be launched in Lucknow.
The Chief Minister has directed the Lucknow Municipal Corporation (LMC) to identify beggars in the state capital and move them to shelter homes.
The physically disabled beggars will be put in shelter homes while the able-bodied ones will be assigned civic duties which will help them earn a living.
Municipal Commissioner Indramani Tripathi has directed all zonal officials to identify the beggars living in their respective zones and shift them to nearby shelter homes.
"We are in the process of carrying out a survey and once this is complete, we will shift the beggars to our 45 shelter homes," said the commissioner.
He said that those found physically fit would be assigned the duty of collecting user charges for door-to-door garbage collection from 5.8 lakh households in the city. Some of them will be deputed in daily sanitation work like collection of garbage, cleaning drains and sweeping of roads.
The LMC has decided that the rehabilitated beggars will be paid 10 to 20 per cent of the user charge collected by them, while those used for other sanitary work will be paid Rs 300 per day -- the same amount that is given to contractual workers.
The Chief Minister has asked the LMC to rehabilitate beggars within 45 days.
The municipal commissioner said that the LMC will provide basic amenities like water, bed sheets and toilet facilities at the shelter homes for these beggars and may have to seek additional financial aid form the government.
According to a survey carried out in 2014 by an organisation called 'Badlaav' and headed by Sharad Patel, a social activist working for rehabilitation of beggars, there were more than 4,500 people in the state capital who are completely dependent on begging for livelihood.
According to sources, the number is estimated to have risen to 7,000.
"Most of the beggars, especially children, are addicted to drugs and LMC should first organise camps to treat them," said Sharad Patel.
In 2008, the then Chief Minister Mayawati had ordered a similar drive and non-adult beggars were rounded up and put into shelter homes.
"Almost all the children ran away from the shelter homes within two months. We put them back in shelter homes but they just would not stay there because they are used to freedom and money. Some of them, we suspect, are also working as drug couriers," said a former LMC officials.
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