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Uttarakhand bans begging following court order; it’s business as usual for beggars

There are nearly 3,000 beggars, including 274 children, in the state as per 2011 census.

india Updated: Jul 01, 2017 13:42 IST
Anupam Trivedi
Anupam Trivedi
Hindustan Times, Dehradun
Begging ban,Char dham,Child trafficking
Uttarakhand adopted UP Beggary Prevention Act to join 20 other states and two union territories to ban begging. (HT Photo for representational purpose )

Uttarakhand on Saturday joined the league of 20 other states and two union territories that have banned begging, one of the most serious social issues in the country.

The state adopted UP Beggary Prevention Act, 1975 that has a provision to arrest a beggar.

However, there was hardly any action visible on the ground against the beggars who were seen roaming as usual in Dehradun and elsewhere.

There are nearly 3,000 beggars, including 274 children, in the state as per 2011 census.

Sharing a copy of the notification on begging ban, additional secretary (social welfare) Manoj Chandran pointed out earlier the Act was only applicable in the temple town of Haridwar, but now it has been extended to rest of the state.

The Act gives the police right to arrest people begging on the streets.

Though many states in the country have banned begging, number of beggars has increased in India over the years despite its economic growth.

The hilly state issued the notification banning begging after the Uttarakhand high court directed it earlier this year to prohibit begging.

Following the court order, the BJP government asked district magistrates to check the beggars and prohibit their activities.

Social scientists say implementation of the ban would be a big challenge for the authorities. They point out that in Haridwar, where the ban was already in place, numerous beggars are seen daily pestering pilgrims and tourists for the alms.

Over the last few years, numbers of beggars have swelled in the state, particularly in Dehradun, Haridwar, Rishikesh and Nainital.

Being a tourist hub, Uttarakhand is apparently a lucrative state for the beggars.

Earlier on June 29, chairman of the state’s child rights panel wrote a letter to the chief secretary, in which he raised the issue of numerous child beggars and toddlers roaming on the Char Dham pilgrimage route seeking alms from the visitors.

According to an official estimate about 17 lakh tourists visited the Char Dham circuit this season.

Social activists for long have been demanding a ban on begging saying it is creating a negative impact on tourists.

“We are happy that the state has finally banned begging. We would like to see if child beggars are identified at the earliest and sent to their homes” said Yogendra Khanduri, chairman of the child rights panel.

Earlier, he had raised concern that the child beggars in the state could be abducted children from other states.

First Published: Jul 01, 2017 13:42 IST