Indore (Madhya Pradesh): The city’s governing authorities’ claims about making Indore a ‘beggar-free’ city fall flat when one looks at the ground realities. Indore Municipal Corporation—along with the women and child development department—had, for long, promised the people that Indore’s name would be added to the nation’s ‘beggar-free’ cities list, but, in reality, it has proved to be only a pipedream. The city’s residents have been facing problems and have encountered various incidents which prove that the city’s beggars still dwell in every prominent street and square.
Mandeep Kaur Saluja, a resident, informed Free Press that beggars were now smart enough to hoodwink officials. They carry stuff ‘FOR SALE’ along with them. But once a person refuses to buy the item, they still ask for money anyhow. This begging trend has been in evidence at least for the past 6 months.
Mahinder Bhatia says, “I travel from Rajiv Gandhi Square to Geeta Bhavan every day, and I meet them at every single square when the light turns red. They ask for money either to feed their children, or ask for alms in the name of God.”
Mayor Pushyamitra Bhargav says the municipal corporation is going to intensify its drive for a beggar-free city and will send such people to a rehabilitation centre. Ramniwas Budheliya, additional director, Integrated Child Protection Scheme, says, “We’re working towards that end and we’ll soon do something about it.” Other officials say, “We’ve been trying to implement the instructions, but the process takes time.”
‘Bhagwan ke naam pe dede’ stills rings out loud in city
The pledge to make the city beggar-free was taken in 2020 and, two years after its implementation, beggars still roam the city’s streets. In the past three months, the women and child development department has rehabilitated only 100 beggars, out of whom only the ones of 60+ age were given a place in shelter homes.
‘I once visited the zoo with my family and, when I came out of the premises, two women approached me for money. I refused as I didn’t have any cash, but it seems to a recurring problem in the city’ — Uma Maheshwari, resident
‘I’m a student and, whenever I cross any signal, I encounter a group of people asking for money. They carry stuff to sell, but it’s all hogwash. It saddens me to see even kids doing this’ — Pritesh Laheri, resident
‘Not only adults, but children, too, beg for money and food on the streets. I once dialled 1089 when I saw a child of merely age 6 asking for food in front of a café. But the authorities failed to rescue her as they came one hour late to the destination and the kid had disappeared by then’ — Ishu Sharma, resident