2000 Dhaka beggers to be rehabilitated

DHAKA, Dec 03, 2012 (BSS)

The government has launched a pilot programme to rehabilitate the street beggars throughout the country to bring them back to the mainstream of the society.

At least 700,000 people beg in the capital alone. Many are forced and some are physically mutilated to draw people’s sympathy, said an official of the social welfare ministry today.

To this end, the government has already completed a study on 10,000 beggars in the capital on September 30, 2011 to rehabilitate them in the society with employment, education, training and shelter.

Most of the disabled beggars would be moved to rehabilitation centres, while the able bodied beggars would be
provided with employment in their districts of origin.

As per the study report, the government has primarily decided to rehabilitate some 2,000 beggars in phases, the ministry official said.

“We are implementing the beggars’ rehabilitation programme in Mymensingh district as the report found that an increased number of beggars from the district is involved in begging in the capital,” Social Welfare secretary Ranjity Kumar Biswas told BSS.

The report also found that in terms of the number of beggars in the city, the second position is occupied by Jamalpur district and third position by Barguna district where the government will implement the programme gradually, said the official.

Social Welfare Minister Enamul Haq Mostafa Shahid recently inaugurated the rehabilitation pilot programme in Mymensingh. He distributed vans, rickshaws, cash money and wheel chairs among the beggars under the programme.

In March 2009, the social welfare ministry set up a core committee for beggars’ rehabilitation and in the following year the government introduced a new law to prevent exploitation of beggars.

Under the new Vagabond and Street Beggars Rehabilitation Act, forcing someone to begging is a punishable offence with three years in prison, which will go up to five years, plus Tk 5 lakh fine , in case of “intentional physical mutilation of the beggars.