Alappuzha, February 13: Kerala has been termed as a state that has always worked towards improving the needs of the people. On a similar note, Alappuzha, city in Kerala has aimed to become a hunger free and Beggar Free State in a span of one month. Beggars are a common sight in India and are seen in railway stations, metro stations, tourist spots, and in areas where there is a regular crowd.
In order to rehabilitate the people and encourage these people to earn for their living by suitable methods, the Kerala government announced a scheme to rehabilitate beggars and provide skill development training to them. Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment, Vijay Sampla, said that meetings were being held with authorities from Central and State Governments, NGOs, institutes and experts to discuss the issues related to begging.
To tackle the root of the problem, the officials have planned to make the region hunger free and the implementation stage is already underway. The municipal council has given an in-principle nod, to ban begging in the locality, and a pending high-level meeting, to discuss and get the ball rolling is in the works. The beggars who are from the state itself will be sent to the rehabilitation home by the civic body and others will be sent back to their hometown.
Beginning this task, the first step, is to identify the beggars, after which appropriate steps for rehabilitation will be taken. Food, shelter, and basic needs will be provided to those beggars hailing from the district.
The ‘hunger-free Kerala’ project is being implemented on a pilot basis, focusing to provide quality food to the needy, free of cost and at least twice a day. The scheme will cover around 500 people in Alappuzha, giving them food, with the help of voluntary organisations, youth organisations. Old and unwell people will have food delivered to their homes.
The State Government has pledged Rs 40.89 lakh towards this cause, with the fund put into use for constructing a permanent facility to provide food at very nominal rates.
At present, 20 states and two Union Territories have either enacted their own anti-beggary laws or adopted those enacted by other states. These laws are mostly based on the Bombay Prevention of Begging Act, 1959, which criminalizes begging, and any person found involved in it can be arrested without a warrant.
Earlier it was the state of Maharashtra which initiated the project of enabling the state of being beggar free state rehabilitating the beggars and will help them to live a new life of respect in society, and also will aim to generate employment by undertaking a more positive effort to benefit lakhs of underprivileged and homeless who barely manage to subsist on its streets.