Kathmandu, December 3
Come February 15, Kathmandu Metropolitan City will be “beggar free zone” — if all goes well.
KMC officials said they have started groundwork to declare all its wards beggar free. As part of the preparation the metropolis will declare a 15-day-long ‘awareness campaign’ on December 15, coinciding with its 25th Metropolitan Day.
KMC is launching the drive to declare the metropolis a beggar free zone in collaboration with the Ministry of Women Children and Senior Citizen. KMC and MoWCSC have formed a task force committee to study the living condition of beggars around the city and to ascertain their population. The committee will recommend ways to rehabilitate them.According to head of the Department of Good Governance at KMC Hari Bahadur Kunwar, a study by the department showed that there were around 500 to 600 elderly beggars in the metropolis. Beggars were found mostly in temple areas like Swoyambhunath, Gujeshwori,
Pashupatinath, Mahankal, Sankata, Bhadrakali, Sobha Bhagawati and Jay Bageshwori. They were also found roaming in public areas like parks and road sides, according to the study.
Citing the study Kunwar said many beggars were from under privileged families and they took to begging as a source of daily income even as they lived with their families. “Beggars with families will be rehabilitated with concerned families, and their closet kin will be issued ultimatum not to allow their elderly members to beg,” Kunwar said. He said homeless elderly and destitute people will be sheltered at elderly homes and elderly rehabilitation centres operated by government or non-government bodies.
Bharat Sharma Under Secretary of MoWCSC said they had started coordinating with elderly homes like
the elderly home at Pashupati and Manab Sewa Aashram, which have welcomed their plan. “We are confident that elderly persons will be taken care of after their rehabilitation,” said Sharma. As per the existing rule, the ministry provides Rs 5,000 to Rs 12,000 per person for elderly homes. Elderly people will be categorised for extra care on the basis of their health condition. The ministry has also proposed to provide Rs 5,000 to Rs 8,000 per street children, for children homes. Senior Citizen Act prohibits anyone to beg in public places. Concerned family is required to take care of its elderly members, as per the act.
A version of this article appears in print on December 04, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.