Sunday, January 08, 2006

Rich Beggars

3 Kerala cities give Rs420m in alms

(PTI)8 January 2006

People in the three corporations — Trivandrum, Cochin and Kozhikode — give alms of over Rs42 crore a year says a recent study. A battalion of 3,000 beggars, majority of them children, collect over Rs11 lakh from these cities every day
Among the large number of beggars there is hardly any Keralites. They are mainly from southern states of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and northern states like Rajasthan.

Cochin, the commercial hub of Kerala forks out Rs6 lakh daily for 1,500 beggars. It means the people in the city will have to raise Rs22 crore annually for giving alms. In Trivandrum, nearly 800 beggars earn Rs2 lakh every day and it works out to Rs9 crore a year. Kozhikode, the Malabar metro, gives Rs3 lakh to beggars every day which comes to over Rs11 crore annually.

Reminds me of a malayalam movie, in which the actor (Jagathy), starts his career as a street side beggar and graduates up the ladder - using a recorded begging message from a tape recorder, employing others to do the job and then finally operating from different cities.

An year ago, I put up a question on "Goodmorning Bangalore" with RJ Vasanthi (Radiocity FM 91 - Bangalore's best radio station), on whether one should/would provide alms to beggars on the city streets. By doing so, one is promoting the industry, encouraging more people to get into the industry and thereby creating a bigger problem. On the other hand there is always the question of compassion and care.

The consensus from Bangalore was that people should try and aid NGO's and support organisations that help rehabilitate beggars and the homeless, rather than directly pay the beggars. I havent heard of any such organisations existing in the cities of Kerala. With a 42 crore budget, it will be a very expensive "rehab" the industry people will be looking at as a trade-off to stop begging!


Jina said...

believe me kerala is far better than mumbai...
and well i do have to agree we have rich beggars in kerala

~*. D E E P A .* ~ said...

Well ... therez a difference b/w compassion n encouraging as u rightly pointed out ...

the thing is , most beggars are young and in their youth .. and can easily work for a living ...
infact there was this article where a beggar was quoted saying that he makes more money begging than by manual labour ... if thatz their attitude , how r we to help ???????

when u give alms to the elderly beggars , then compassion and kidness comes into the picture.

i have seen severly disabled people making a living outta doing smthg in their capacity - like accounting work and all ... than , why the hell cant perfectly able beggars get to work ???

Mind Curry said...

@ ursjina - and we have some rich buggers too huh..hihi..

@ deepa - so true..and infact we always keep hearing about children being physically tortured and forced into begging. terrible. but would anyone support us if we put a blanket rule against giving money to beggars? not sure about that.

silverine said...

Two years back there was a report in a Bangalore paper of a beggar who loans money.He can give you upto 2 lakhs at a decent interest. And all this money he makes out of begging.

TOI carried a report of an organised mafia operating on MG Road and Brigade Road. The journalist spotted a mafiosi beating up a child for not collecting enough.

NDTV carried an excluisve on beggars in Delhi. The minimum earning of these beggars was about Rs.3000/- per day. Even cops took 'hafta' from these people.

After these three eye opening reports I have stopped giving alms no matter how pathetic the face in front of me. I do donate to the Krishthujyothi Brothers who rehabilitate these people.

Mind Curry said...

@ silverine- really, even i should stop from now on and just stick to the support for CRY and such.but at times when i see some of them i really feel sad and guilty..especially when i am returning from a party or movie.

Anonymous said...

There has been initiatives undertaken previously in Kerala to tackle this issue. In 2002, Kochi corporation came out with a campaign to enforce the existing ban on begging but I don't think it worked anyways as NGOs, corporations and the public is still uncertain regarding finding a lasting solution to this problem. Apprarently a study undertaken by an NGO found that majority of the beggars in Kochi come from Anantpur District in Andhra Pradesh and contrary to the popular belief, they do have a support system back in their home towns. Some of the beggars were even found to own couple of acres of land and begging was taken up as a means of fighting boredom during rainy seasons or during those times when they needed some fast cash. There was even a news story on some beggars who were taken away to rehab centers only to be freed by lawyers hired by their relatives, before they could be 'rehabilitated'.

The best possible solution as indicated by certain other bloggers here, is to avoid giving alms to children and any able bodied person. (I know its hard and I too forget when I see the pitiful faces of young children in particular)But to get rid of this social malaise I see this as the only way supported by long term settlement initiatives undertaken by the local NGOs in Kerala.

Anonymous said...

NOTE: A small error in my comment...the statement should read "Some of the beggars were even found to own couple of acres of land which they tended during the rainy seasons and begging was taken up during the remainder of the year (since they had nothing else to do) or during those times when they needed some fast cash."

And to continue on this topic... in Kothamangalam, Kerala, local beggars even formed a union against the `imported beggars' who are dipping into their begging intakes. :)

Mind Curry said...

@ anonymous - i guess even i will try and refrain from paying these buggers, except through organisations or really disabled people. thanks for the comment..imported beggars! lol!

Mind Curry said...

here is an update to the story:

Police directed to arrest persons who force children into begging

Staff Reporter

Direction issued at a meeting convened by the Chief Judicial Magistrate

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, Jan 26: Chief Judicial Magistrate S. Soman has directed the city police to arrest persons who force children into begging.

The direction was issued at a meeting convened here by the CJM to chalk out a programme for effectively implementing the Juvenile Justice (care and protection of children) Act 2000.

The CJM has also directed the police to file the charge sheet within 15 days. "The case will be disposed by the court in one month," he added.

Some of the other instructions include, taking photographs of the child beggar and his accomplice and arranging witnesses with the help of voluntary organisations.

Mr. Soman has directed that the copies of the photograph be stored in CD format apart from including them in the FIR; while presenting the accused before the respective court; while submitting the report before the CJM and during the process of temporary rehabilitation at various shelters. Since a majority of the children who took to begging were found to have arrived here from other States, it was decided that they should be handed over to the Social Welfare Departments (SWD) of their home States.

The police has also been directed to find out whether the children had been kidnapped by any `mafia gangs' from their home States. Checking inside train compartments would be intensified with the assistance of the Railway Protection Force and the Railway police.

Anonymous said...


Mind Curry said...

@ ash2life2000 - thanks soo much for dropping by. hope you found some useful stats :)

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