Nizamabad: The problem of street children and of gangs using them for begging and other petty crimes is on the rise in this district. More and more children aged are found being abandoned or begging near temples and traffic signals in Nizamabad, Bodhan, Armoor and other towns.
Police took note of these and are rescuing such children under the Operation Smile programme.
Cops engaged in the drive said that among the children saved from streets, the missing, the abandoned and those engaged in child labour are identified first and then shifted to the observation home in Nizamabad. Rescued children are handed over to their parents, if their origin is traced and counseling would be done, police said.
A team of police officials headed by a sub inspector and four constables are implementing the Operation Smile.
Additional deputy police commissioner T. Usha Vishwanath inaugurated Operation Smile-VII here on Thursday. She said the drive will continue through January. Action will be initiated against those who encourage children to do begging.
Speaking to Deccan Chronicle, child welfare committee member S. Jyothi said a separate observation home for destitute boys and girls is required. As of now, abandoned kids and child labourers are shifted to the observation home in the juvenile centre. Mixing of children involved in criminal cases and abandoned children is not advisable, she pointed out.
Numerous children are seen on garbage points, temples and traffic signals, begging for money from motorists.
Earlier, officials of the national child labour project intensively conducted raids and identified child labourers. Women, child welfare department, the NCLP, police and labour department officials can coordinate in the drive against the street children problem in Nizamabad district, activists say.