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HindustanTimes Sat,22 Nov 2014

Beggars on the prowl giving bad name to 'Manchester of India'

Rameshinder Singh Sandhu, Hindustan Times  Ludhiana, January 20, 2014
First Published: 20:45 IST(20/1/2014) | Last Updated: 20:46 IST(20/1/2014)

The city that has proudly earned the title of ‘Manchester of India’, at the same time, stands flooded with beggars of all age groups, including little children and women. Dressed in a highly ugly and untidy manner, they simply offer an irking experience to the locals and the visitors alike.

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Be it any nook and corner of the city, they can be easily spotted everywhere including the major welcoming points in the city such as the railway station and the bus stand.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/Popup/2014/1/Bagger_01live_compressed.jpg

The authorities may be claiming that they are doing their best to erase ‘mendacity’ but, going by the ground reality, it seems they are sleeping over the issue as a number of beggars seem to be rising with day by day.

Coming straight to the core points, the railway station and the bus stand, beggars can be usually seen chasing the passengers as they step in the city.

Shockingly, in some cases, they surround the passengers even in groups, which turn out be very embarrassing and disturbing to them and onlookers as well.

At the railway station, they openly roam about at the platforms as if they have been deployed to welcome the visitors to the city!

In fact, they are n aware of the arrival timings of different trains and particular buses, so they arrive their well in time in large numbers.

Sometimes, passengers, while getting down the train or a  bus, have a hard time to get out of the doors as beggars surround them and would not leave the opening till they are given some money.

Many a time, they are seen troubling the people in front of the police as well and who hardly intervene.

“Just a few minutes earlier, an elderly woman, who got down the Shatabdi all alone at around 7 am on platform  no. 1, was chased by four beggars for a long distance. She appeared totally helpless as was also caught by hand by them”, said a young man at the platform while waiting for his train.

He added, “Alas! The city fails to offer a pleasant welcome to the visitors. It should not be forgotten that first impression is the last impression.”

At major traffic signals and roundabouts, the scene is no different. Here, cars and two- wheelers are highly chased. They can come in front of any vehicle at any time even when the traffic light goes green, adding to the risk of accidents.

Even gates of hotels in the city are not spared by them, as the hotels house many visitors from across the world.

"If we really want to get rid of beggars, we need to give up the eccentric habit of giving money to them. Many of us do that and this practice certainly galvanises them to beg," maintains Navleen Kaur Deol, a housewife, stressing that responsible authorities should also make strenuous efforts to wipe off the beggar scene from the city.

HT tried to contact police commissioner Nirmal Dhillon and deputy commissioner of police Harsh Bansal on the issue but all efforts went in vain.

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