'Beggar courts' debut on Delhi streets: officials
Delhi authorities launched their first mobile courts today which will begin convicting beggars as part of a strategy to clean up the city ahead of the Commonwealth Games, officials said.delhi Updated: Sep 01, 2009 15:58 IST
Delhi authorities launched their first mobile courts on Tuesday which will begin convicting beggars as part of a strategy to clean up the city ahead of the Commonwealth Games, officials said.
Four mobile courts supported by a police control room are intended to speed up convictions of beggars who city authorities say could bother foreigners during the sporting event next year.
"Today is the inaugural day," said RP Kukreti, a senior official in the Department of Social Welfare, told AFP. "They (beggars) will be apprehended on the spot by mobile courts."
Beggars are a common sight at traffic lights and frequently tap on car windows and cluster at tourist spots, asking residents and foreigners for loose change.
The deputy director of the Department of Social Welfare, PC Sharma, told AFP that convicted beggars would be sent to a rehabilitation centre for a maximum of three years.
"The purpose is to make them more skill-oriented and to rehabilitate them and then repatriate them to their respective state," he said, adding that 90 percent of beggars in Delhi were from elsewhere in the country.
Some charity groups, including the Save Children Campaign, an Indian non-governmental organisation, have condemned the action, saying it does not solve the underlying problem of poverty.
The courts are part of a drive by civic authorities to turn the capital of 16 million people into a "world-class city."
In seeking to beautify Delhi, thousands of slum dwellings have already been demolished.