What are you doing about these young, multi-talented conmen?
The arm of the government that I represent is concerned mainly with beggars; we have a special squad looking into the problem of beggary on the city’s streets. These squads are responsible for taking them to homes where they are fed and taken care of.
But they don’t just beg – they double-up as hawkers, shop hands and pickpockets.
I agree that there is a thin line between begging, hawking and petty crime. But, like I said, these are different issues. Each of the three falls in the ambit of different government agencies and one can’t take any step without the cooperation of another.
Which other agencies are you referring to?
Keeping the hawker population in the city under check is the MCD’s (Municipal Corporation of Delhi) job and similarly the issue of pickpockets and other petty criminals are for the police to address.
Do you think the existing infrastructure in the capital to take care of the beggars is adequate?
Yes. There are 11 centres spread across the city where these beggars are lodged and are taken care of. In fact, we are soon coming out with an open-air home in the city to accommodate them.
Taking care of them is a noble task. But what are you doing to ensure the number of beggars does not increase?
We are in talks with various state governments such as those of Orissa, Bihar and other states in the country from which the capital has traditionally seen a huge influx of rural poor who resort to begging in the city.