Mumbai: In a drive to make the city beggar-free, the Mumbai police has started to rounded up beggars from the city streets. The joint commissioner of police (law and order) Vishwas Nangare Patil has instructed all the Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP's) to act against people who indulged in begging.
As a part of the drive, the Azad Maidan police lodged 14 beggars to a beggar's home in Chembur on Saturday. The drive against the beggars will continue entire month stated in the circular which is in possession of the Free Press Journal. The beggars would be picked up under the Mumbai prevention of Begging Act 1959 and following the COVID-19 test they would be sent to beggar's home in Chembur which has a capacity of 850.
The COVID-19 test will be conducted to prevent the outbreak of coronavirus inside the beggar's home.
"To evict the social problem of begging we have instructed all the senior inspectors to act against beggars. The beggars are being rounded up as a part of the drive and will be sent to a home at Chembur following coronavirus tests," said Mumbai police spokesperson, DCP S Chaitanya.
As per the 1959 Act, begging has been criminalised in the city and the authorities regularly picked up beggars as well as those found wandering or not having any visible means of subsistence. Those picked up under the law are sent to beggar's home at Chembur.
"The action should be taken against organised begging however due to the pandemic many people have lost their earning sources and are forced into begging. I think the authorities should concentrate on their rehabilitation before lodging them in beggar's home, " said Brijesh Arya, convener of the Homeless Collective.
In November last year, the civic body has identified nearly 29,000 people who were indulged in begging, which includes children and women. The survey was conducted after the central government proposed a national campaign for comprehensive rehabilitation of beggars in 10 cities across the country. The civic body has been made a nodal agency in charge of the campaign.