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Begging menace pesters people in Srinagar

Begging will be banned once rehabilitation framework is in place soon: DC Srinagar
12:00 AM Mar 29, 2024 IST | Rabiya Bashir
begging menace pesters people in srinagar
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Srinagar, Mar 28:  If you stop at a traffic signal in the summer capital, suddenly large groups of beggars will surround your vehicle! This is the scale of begging menace in Srinagar while authorities have failed to check the problem which is taking a toll on people.

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Not only women carrying babies in their laps but men with amputated limbs and arms are also seen collecting alms at the traffic signals across the city, near hospitals, eatery shops and other places of Downtown and Uptown areas of Srinagar.

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As per the reports, some women who come to the city begging from the neighbouring states are hiring infants for better earnings. “Each beggar earns between Rs 300 and Rs. 500 on an average per day and if everything goes well the amount can cross up to Rs 1000 per day.”

Despite repeated pleas from locals, authorities seem to be turning a blind eye to the issue, leaving the people feeling concerned and distressed.

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"I feel bad seeing these beggars exploiting innocent children. It is heartbreaking to witness young kids being used as tools for begging. The authorities need to take immediate action," said a commuter while pointing towards a group of beggars at MA road intersection.

Another local, Danish Farooq said that the sight of beggars, especially children, at every turn is disheartening.

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“It is affecting the morale of our community. The authorities should address this issue immediately," he said.

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The surge in beggars, many of whom hail from other areas, has inundated the valley, with their presence becoming ubiquitous across traffic signals, commercial areas, and public spaces.

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A group of college students told said that these beggars use emotionally manipulative tactics, often using newborns and young children to solicit alms from passersby.

Deputy Commissioner, Srinagar, Bilal Mohiddin Bhat told Greater Kashmir that there is a proactive approach aimed at rehabilitation rather than mere prohibition.

He said that the inefficacy of blanket bans under Section 144 and other acts does not work.

“The ongoing efforts under the Support for Marginalized Individuals for Livelihood and Enterprise (SMILE) scheme, which focuses on rehabilitating beggars through the empanelment of NGOs,” he said.

"We have processed SMILE since I came here. We are at the last point. We are empanelling NGOs. We will rehabilitate them. We have almost approved NGOs. I think it will take 15-20 days. Once we are done with that. Then we will put a ban. Begging itself is a concern, the presence of individuals on the streets poses additional challenges for local authorities," he said.

DC Srinagar said that begging will be banned, once the rehabilitation framework is in place.

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