They welcome you on the busy roads, peep into your cars, and chase you when you are out shopping. Meet the beggars, often seen calling out to God or uttering 'blessings' on the city streets.
Even as many people complain about being disturbed by these beggars, the authorities of this tourist destination are not seen taking any action to remove them.
During a survey of the city, an HT team saw beggars loitering outside tourist spots like Harmandir Sahib, Siddha Sahib Durgiana Mandir, Naina Mata Mandir, Devi Launga Mata Mandir, markets on Lawrence Road, Ranjit Avenue B and C block, Pink Plaza, and even public transportation terminals.
Bus terminal manager Purohit said, "Beggars are a big issue here, and we cannot take proper action against some of them, especially women carrying babies. In response to our complaints, Punjab Roadways sent a notice to bus stand police station to tame the beggars, but nothing effective has been done yet."
In defiance of the right to education, small children are often seen begging and loitering around on the roads. Deputy commissioner Ravi Bhagat claimed, "A group in Red Cross has been directed to pick up such beggars, take them to the society, and provide them food and education."
In spite of the Punjab Prevention of Beggary Act, 1971, the problem still exists. "No governance is done. The administrators need to enjoy their work to ensure an effective system. Police should also conduct patrolling regularly," said social activist Brij Bedi.
Beggars are rude and humiliate and curse you if you do not give them money
When you come out of the temple, they hassle you until police action is threatened
Rahul Katyal, visitor
It is not a new issue and happens in metros too. They pounce on you the moment you step out
Nalima Kumar, visitor
Beggars often annoy us in front of authorities, but they choose to turn a blind eye
Surinder Kumar, resident
Nothing much has been done in this regard, but we will coordinate with deputy commissioner to look into it
Jatinder Singh Aulakh, commissioner of police
Since I took charge recently, nothing much has been done, but I will direct the police to take strict action
Ravi Bhagat, deputy commissioner