New Delhi: The Beggary eradication campaign launched by the Delhi Government just before the Commonwealth Games 2010 seems to have taken a back seat. The government has forgotten its promise to make the national capital a beggar free city and is whining about the circumstantial constraints.

Amidst this apathy, merely a dozen beggars are locked up in the Beggar homes at Lampur while thousands of them are roaming on roads.

On this Delhi’s Social Welfare Minister Kiran Walia said, “High Court has asked the Delhi government to classify the beggars in different categories and evaluate their problems. According to the court’s directive beggars should be classified in three different categories. Under this classification, first category belongs to drug addicts, second comprises the victims of circumstances and third consists of those people who beg under an organized gang.”

“People who are into beggary by choice and pursue it as an occupation can be dealt with strictness but the other two categories need help and should be extracted from this swamp.” she added.

Sources close to the Delhi Government informed that prior to the Commonwealth Games, the government had conducted a survey through some NGOs. The survey in its report has stated the strength of beggars in the city was 60,000. It also found that 95 percent of these beggars belonged to different states and had based themselves in the national capital.

Along with Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, beggars from other states are also present in Delhi.

Prof Walia said, “The biggest challenge to confront this issue is that there has been no law and planning by the government on the national level. Delhi also follows the Bombay Prevention of Begging Act 1959. Even on requesting other states to take back the beggars of their states, there is a clear denial from the authorities for the same.”

Delhi Government had posted letters to Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and other states requesting them to take the beggars from their states back and work for their welfare. But except Haryana none of the other states replied to the letter.

According to Sources, Delhi Government designated two mobile vans to catch hold of the beggars from the roads. This initiative is inactive at the present and exists merely as a formality.

JPN/Bureau