Hyderabad: In what could probably be a first-of-its-kind initiative in the country, the Telangana State Prisons Department will provide shelter to beggars in the city on its premises. Accordingly, about 500 beggars, both male and female, will be accommodated in the Chanchalguda and Cherlapally Central Prisons here.
Elaborating on the initiative, V.K. Singh, Director General of Prisons and Correctional Services, said here on Friday that begging had turned a major problem in the city. It was not only an issue of human rights violation, but also an issue that led to trafficking of women and children by professional racketeers who also harmed young ones for the sake of begging.
“Some take this as profession for earning easy money. It also projects a poor image of the city. However, there are some genuine beggars who can’t sustain themselves,” Singh said, adding that only about 20 per cent of beggars in the city were genuine.
An NGO, Abhipraay Welfare Society, had earlier filed a writ in the High Court asking to tackle this problem. There were certain directions given by the court but those were not implemented due to logistic problems.
Following a request from the NGO, Singh said he wrote to the Chief Secretary volunteering to take responsibility to rehabilitate beggars on an experimental basis. The initiative is supported also by the Hyderabad City Police, Traffic Police and the GHMC, who will help in identifying beggars and handing them over to the shelter homes.
“We have some unused structures on our premises away from the prisoners’ barracks. These will be used for their accommodation. We will arrange for counseling and skill development too. When they come here, we will get them registered using their photos, fingerprint and Aadhar card as well,” Singh said, adding that ‘professional’ beggars who run away from the shelter homes would subsequently arrested as per the Prevention of Begging Act.