Pyarechand, 35, has been in the Lampur state-run beggar home for almost a year.“Yahan pe roti, dal, chawal aur chai dete hain aur bijli ka kaam sikhate hain,” he says of the two meals he gets per day in addition to being taught a skill.
He is a native of Haridwar who came looking for work in Delhi some years ago. He found a job as a labourer in a construction site in Old Delhi but was eventually picked up by the police for begging and brought to Lampur’s Beggar Home run by the Delhi government’s social welfare department.
Pyarechand, who has studied till class five back in his hometown, is optimistic about getting a job and finding a way to support his family — parents, two brothers who work as masons, a wife and two kids — who are back in Haridwar.
Pyarechand and 15 like him who are housed here after being picked up for begging, are being given vocational training which is largely lessons in fixing electrical circuits, repairing tubelights, plumbing etc.
Some of them also do odd jobs such as sweeping around the home. In the first month, they are entitled to Rs 8 a day, Rs 10 a day in the second month and Rs 12 a day in the third month, which are paid as a lump sum when the person leaves the home.
The government is planning to raise this to Rs 25-30 a day.
Pyarechand will be released from the home three months from now. He says he will keep away from begging. “I will work, and won’t beg again when I leave this place,” he says.