Four more inmates of the government-run Beggars Relief Centre in Bangalore have died since Friday night, taking the toll to 26 during the last four days.
"The death toll has risen to 26. The government has decided to take action against staff for their acts of negligence," Minister for Social Welfare Govind Karjol told reporters after visiting the centre along with Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa.
Yeddyurappa had allocated Social Welfare portfolio to Karjol on Friday after stripping D Sudhakara of the department in the wake of serial death of beggars.
Concerned over the deaths at the City Beggars camp, the government today ordered Deputy Commissioners to undertake visits to 13 such centres located in parts of the state and ensure that such tragedies did not recur.
Karjol directed the authorities here to ensure that those who fled the Relief Camp yesterday were brought back at the earliest.
Hundreds of inmates of the camp deserted it yesterday and have returned to begging in several areas.
Of the 2300-odd inmates currently housed in the relief camp, more than 1800 belong to other states. There were at least 825 from Tamil Nadu, 625 from Andhra Pradesh, 125 each from Kerala and Uttar Pradesh. The government was in touch with these states to send them back to their respective states, he said.
Karjol said warden of the Beggars Relief Centre, against whom complaints poured would be removed shortly.
A day after the Government sacked the centre's Chairman and shifted its Secretary, the authorities undertook cleaning operations in view of Yeddyurappa's visit.
When the Chief Minister arrived there and asked the inmates to come out with their grievances, none of them came forward. Several were heard pleading with Yeddyurappa that they be let out.
Talking to reporters, Yeddyurappa said three more doctors and 10 para medical staff would be deployed soon to provide medical aid to inmates.
He also ordered that good food be served and three pairs of clothes ensured to all the inmates, besides giving priority to cleanliness.
Former Chief Minister and JDS leader H D Kumaraswamy met Governor H R Bhardwaj and requested him to direct the government to check beggars deaths.