The Delhi government wants the streets clear of beggars for the Commonwealth Games in October. And it’s come up with a plan: since most beggars are from outside the city, it wants them repatriated to their home states.
The government has sent letters to the chief secretaries of 10 states, asking them to take back the beggars.
“The letters have been sent... This will be done ahead of the Games,” said Manoj Paridha, secretary, social welfare, Delhi government.
Though comprehensive data is missing, a sample survey in August 2009 of 11 shelters — capacity 2,018 — run by the Delhi government revealed that most outstation beggars came from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. That month, of the 1,518 beggars rounded up by the Delhi Police anti-begging squad, 1,099 were from outside the city.
Letters were sent on February 12 to West Bengal, Orissa, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan, Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh too.
“Most of the beggars said Delhi gave them a better opportunity,” said a social welfare department official.
“Even if they begged for two days, they earned for the entire week,” he added.
“So far, we’ve received a response from only West Bengal. They have asked us for details of the beggars and what needs to be done,” said the official.
“We will take a final decision after we get all the responses and get our survey done,” he added.
“Why should we go back to our home state? We have been living here for many years,” said Sushila (35), a native of Jodhpur who begs at the Tolstoy Marg-Janpath crossing.
“There is not even a drop of water to drink back home,” she added.
“I was born here. We have not been told about any such order,” said Noora (12), who hails from Bihar.