Lack of infrastructure impedes government’s rehab policies for beggars, street kids in Ludhiana | punjab | ludhiana | Hindustan Times
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Lack of infrastructure impedes government’s rehab policies for beggars, street kids in Ludhiana

These children, who mostly hail from Rajasthan, besides selling different items are at times also found begging for alms.

punjab Updated: Aug 06, 2018 13:59 IST
Amarpal Singh
Amarpal Singh
Hindustan Times, Ludhiana
beggars,street kids,Ludhiana
Few days ago, a group of seven families, comprising 10 adults and as many as 15 children, from Chittorgarh (Rajasthan), came to the city and encroached on a part of footpath near Bhai Bala Chowk. (HT Photo)

Beggars and street children selling ballons and other items are ubiquitous at traffic signals, outside temple compounds and markets in Ludhiana.These children, who mostly hail from Rajasthan, besides selling different items are at times also found begging for alms.

Few days ago, a group of seven families, comprising 10 adults and as many as 15 children, from Chittorgarh (Rajasthan), came to the city and encroached on a part of footpath near Bhai Bala Chowk. These migrants sleep here and also make use of small park located along the footpath for bathing, cooking and defecation.

“We have to come to the city to earn money as it is easier to earn here as compared back home,” said Kali, a woman from the nomadic group that has come to Ludhiana from Chittorgarh.

“All the family members, including our children, sell balloons in the market and we earn around ₹200-300 daily,” she said, adding in afternoon they buy the products from the markets near the Clock Tower and around 6pm they proceed for different markets and traffic lights to sell it and later return to their shelters.

Nuisance for the city: Residents

Meanwhile, residents say beggars and street children create nuisance in the city. “These women along with their kids surround us and force us to give them alms and if denied they end up using foul language and making faces,” said Raman Vohra, a resident of BRS Nagar.

Gurpreet Singh of Sarabha Nagar said child beggars lean along the cars at the traffic signals and they do not get aside even when the light turns green, which at times leads to accidents.

Begging has been prohibited in Punjab since 1971 with the introduction of Punjab Prevention of Beggary Act, 1971. In 2015, the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act was legislated by the Centre to prohibit begging by children. But these acts go in vain due to lack of proper implementation.

No place for street kids

This year, the district child protection office has conducted two raids against child begging in the city and counselled as many as 52 children. Both the raids were made in March under the statewide campaign to rehabilitate children engaged in begging.

“There is no government child home to accommodate these beggars in the city due to which we are not able to take their custody and are just left with the option to counsel them at the spot where they are found,” said Rashmi Saini, district child protection officer

“We also give warnings to their parents not to engage kids in begging,” she added.

The district child protection officer, stressing on the role of the police in curbing this menace, said cops are always available at these prominent chowks and hence they should take appropriate action against the offenders.

‘Drive against child beggars soon’

Chairman of the State Child Rights Commission Sukesh Kalia said the drive against the child beggars is already in process in the state.

Ludhiana is an industrial city, so the number of migrant workers is much more here, Kalia said, adding, “Hence, before starting the rehabilitation drive here, we need proper infrastructure, including the accommodation arrangement for beggars, who we will rescue.”

First Published: Aug 06, 2018 13:59 IST