Anti-beggary campaign intensified

Saadia Salahuddin
Sunday, Oct 10, 2021

LAHORE : Anti-beggary drive that Child Protection and Welfare Bureau (CPWB) has been carrying on for long has gained momentum as the chief minister gives directives to the departments concerned in all districts of the province to take measures to end beggary and send him a report.

The Child Protection and Welfare Bureau (CPWB) has taken 1200 beggar boys and more than 550 girls into custody since January 2021 until now.

At present, the moment vehicles halt at a signal, unwanted windscreen wipers, toy sellers, flower sellers, booksellers and their likes start pleading with the commuters to buy their stuff.

There are among them those with a stretched arm asking for alms.

Basically, all these street urchins throng commuters for charity.

There are a good number of children among the beggars.

The Child Protection and Welfare Bureau has checked 1,500 to 2,000 beggar children in 2021 alone. They pick beggar children and keep them in the bureau for 15 days where they are doing psychological counselling but a fortnight is not enough to bring change.

Those who come on roads for begging repeatedly are sent away to bureaus in other cities.

Their parents have to travel far and that costs them, even then children are caught begging again and again. For such children, the Child Protection and Welfare Bureau registers FIRs against their parents and also fines them. The child protection bureau moved 200 children to other cities from Lahore.

Child Protection and Welfare Bureau offers parents of beggar children to leave them at the bureau if they cannot feed them.

Here they will be fed and educated, still few leave their children with the bureau and take them away saying they cannot part with their child. A beggar child brings home Rs800-Rs1000 a day, says an observer. They are professional beggars.

At present the CPWB is imparting skills to the resident children.

The CPWB has signed an MoU with PVTC (Punjab Vocational Training Centre). Children are being trained in mobile phone repairing, tailoring, cooking, electrician, beautician and two-month nursing course. The latest course introduced is that of nursing. Ten girls are enrolled in the nursing course and it is the first batch of nursing.

Police keep arresting beggars and eventually leave them. The government will soon come up with legislation to tackle this problem. The problem is that police keeps bringing addicts along with beggars. The two cannot be put together for that would create more problems, says an activist.

The chief minister has recently called for a comprehensive report on beggary in all the districts of Punjab. He has called for district-wise detail on registration of cases and arrest of beggars, those released on bail and sent to judicial lock-up; identification of lacunas in existing laws/rules and working out mechanism to ensure consistency in operation to eradicate beggary.