Kochi to be beggar-free in 100 days
KOCHI: The Kochi Corporation will initiate measures to strictly enforce the ban on organised begging and the city will be made beggar-free in the next 100 days. This decision was taken during a stakeholder meeting convened by Mayor Soumini Jain on Saturday. Children brought from other states will be rehabilitated in shelter homes run by various NGOs and they will be given food, medicines and other basic amenities. It has also been decided to seek the support of Kerala State Legal Services Authority (KELSA) to send back migrant women and infants who live on the streets to their native places.
A helpline number and WhatsApp group will be launched in connection with declaring the city a beggar-free area. The proposals will be implemented with the approval of the Corporation council, the Mayor said. During a recent council meeting, Ms. Jain had said that police support would be sought to remove beggars from city areas. The Mayor asked councillors and standing committee chairmen to take necessary measures to curb begging in their areas with the support of residents’ associations and NGOs.
Though begging has been legally banned, it’s thriving in many parts of the city. “Groups engaged in organised begging exploit the compassion of people who give alms to children, aged and those in distress. There are migrant labourers who deploy their children to beg on the street,” she said. Standing committee chairpersons V.K Minimol, A.B Sabu, Opposition leader K.J Antony, councillors, Ernakulam sub-collector Eesha Priya, police authorities and representatives of child protection committee, NGOs, residents’ associations attended the meeting.