Srinagar: Unchecked begging menace is taking toll on people in the summer capital.
With an increasing population of beggars, locals as well as the tourists face immense inconveniences as these beggars swarm them in groups and ask for alms.
Groups of beggars can be seen outside schools, USG centres, clinical labs, parking places, departmental stores, hospitals and important junctions. “Begging has become a menace in the city but authorities are doing nothing about it. These beggars who arrive here in large numbers get scattered to different locations and force people to give them alms," they said, Afaq Ahmad from Downtown Srinagar said that a few beggars even broke the window pane of his car after he refused to give them money.
The beggars are often seen working in small groups having at least one amputated person and carrying newborn babies. They are accompanied by children who help them in collecting money from people.
“These beggars are present at almost all traffic signals, commercial markets and public places and invade locals until they get money from them,” said Zubair Ahmad, who works in a shop at Lal Chowk.
Aliya, a college student said that the beggars ask for a huge amount. "They refuse to take Rs 5 or 10. When I refused to give, one of the beggars started abusing me. She even followed and forced me to give her money. I was so scared,” she rued.
Director, Social Welfare Department, Mohd Shafi Chak told Greater Kashmir that there is a policy for children in street situations which comes under Mission Vatsalya.
Meanwhile, Harvinder Kour, Director, Mission Vatsalya J&K said they have received guidelines from the government regarding registration and rehabilitation of street children.
" We have registered 600 street children who were mostly seen begging on the roads. We have shifted them to shelter homes. We take care of them till they reach 18 years of age. After that they can work," she said.
Mission Vatsalya is a centrally sponsored scheme launched by the Government of India’ s Ministry of Women and Child Development aimed at “building a protective environment for children.
The scheme is implemented by the Social Welfare Department through J&K State Child Protection Society. (Mission Vatsalya) is run through District Child Protection Units (DCPUs) at the district level with support from statutory bodies CWCs and JJBs. However, there is no police to deal with begging menace.