Hyderabad: After its successful campaign to free the city of beggars, the Prisons Department has now decided to set up beggar rehabilitation centres in unused buildings in district jails across the State.
Addressing a press conference here on Monday, Prisons and Correctional Services Director General VK Singh said the department has already sent a proposal to the State government in this regard.
“We are hopeful of getting a positive response from the government within a few days,” he said. The department has set up ‘Anand Ashrams’ at the Chanchalguda and Cherlapally Central prisons for rehabilitation of beggars after starting a drive against the thriving practice in October 2017.
The drive was launched in coordination with police and municipal officials to make the city free of the menace. According to Singh, drug addicts and couriers, who moved in the form of beggars were no longer roaming free.
“Most religious places and junctions are now free from beggars. As those seeking alms in districts are migrating to the city to indulge in similar activity, the department has decided to extend the facility to other districts,” he said.
As part of the rehabilitation programme, the department is offering a reward of Rs 1,000 as against Rs 500 announced earlier to those who give information on beggars. “We have disbursed Rs 16,000 as rewards to those who gave information on beggars,” he said.
The department has spent over Rs 50 lakh for the programme by availing loans from the Prison Development Fund and a proposal was sent to the government to sanction Rs.3 crore for effectively taking up the programme across the State, Singh said. The assistance of volunteers and those working in NGOs along with the staff recruited on contract basis was taken to help beggars at the ‘Anand Ashrams’, he said, adding that transgenders seeking money on the roads would not be treated as beggars.
14 sub-jails to turn into shelter homes
If the plans of the Prisons department bear fruit, 14 sub-jails that were shutdown due to insufficient prisoners will transform into shelter homes for the needy.
Two each closed sub-jails would be used as homes for the visually-challenged, mentally-ill, orphans, destitute women, ailing persons, senior citizens and persons with disabilities, Prisons and Correctional Services Director General VK Singh said here on Monday.
Describing it as the ‘most novel experiment undertaken by any Prison Department in the world’, Singh said even Norway, US, UK or the Netherlands did not have such a facility. The department would impart training to those who were admitted at the shelter homes and upgrade their skills to market the products manufactured by them.
This initiative would not only support them financially, but also enable them to become independent, without turning to begging or crime.
“As our idea is to bring down the crime rate, we have come out with a plan to rehabilitate all destitute and poor who are prone to committing crimes due to poverty,” he said.
He said the department would soon come out with another novel programme to bring down crime rates. In addition to the 14 closed sub-jails, the department was contemplating to close at least four more sub-jails, he added.