The Chandigarh administration in August this year had announced that by October 2, the city will be made free from child begging. UT officials, however, have failed to keep this promise.
Child beggars can be seen at markets and traffic light points across the city, sometimes even coming to the middle of the road while seeking alms. The scene is the same at various spots, including Sectors 15, 17, 20, 22, 34, 35, 40 and 44.
In August, UT home secretary Anurag Aggarwal had said that the administration would ensure that child begging comes to an end in Chandigarh. The administration had also decided that action would be taken against parents who send their child for begging. The decision was taken after a survey was conducted in June, in which it was highlighted that there are around 1,200 child beggars in the city. The survey was conducted with the help of the Chandigarh Commission for Protection of Child Rights.
A detailed action report was to be prepared on how to check child begging. The report was to elaborate on how awareness can be generated against this practice besides ways to rehabilitate the rescued children.
The UT started a drive in August, but it lost steam with time. During the drive, the UT social welfare department and police rescued some children and sent them to Snehalaya. During one such drive, some parents protested against the administration for rounding up their children. The administration also appealed to the residents to stop giving alms. Despite repeated attempts, UT home secretary could not be contacted for a comment.
‘Parents forcing kids into begging’
The survey conducted by the Chandigarh Commission for Protection of Child Rights had pointed out that children were being forced into begging by their parents, and not by any gang operating in the city. As per the survey, most children were found begging at Sectors 20, 21 and 44. These children were staying with their parents, who had migrated to the city from other parts of the country, such as Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and West Bengal.