Safety comes first, don’t give alms at light points

Open house: how to check possible spread of covid by beggars

Safety comes first, don’t give alms at light points

A woman seeks alms without wearing a mask at the Hallo Majra chowk in Chandigarh. File

Make sure beggars do not roam freely, rehabilitate them, send kids to school & show zero tolerance to menace

It is a menace

It’s worrisome to see mushrooming of beggars in view of the current pandemic in the tricity as it can spread the disease exponentially. If more and more people pledge not to give a single penny to any beggar, irrespective of his/her need, begging will stop. Sanjay Chopra, Mohali

They are a nuisance, cops turn a blind eye

Beggars at traffic light points and in markets are a nuisance. They forcibly insist to pay them alms. They do not wear masks nor do they maintain social distance.The Chandigarh Police does not bother to remove them even when officials say,“begging is a crime”.The traffic police is busy issuing challans near roundabouts and nothing else. RK Kapoor, Chandigarh

Bring them into mainstream

In this Covid pandemic beggars, particularly at traffic junctions, have become a problem as they can spread the virus.The UT Administration has to prepare a road map to tackle begging. An assessment has to be made about number of child beggars and accommodation required for them and their parents. We need to think of more rehabilitation centres. Thereafter, a plan should be made to bring such children into the mainstream and provide them education. Adopt a therapeutic approach rather than philanthropic or a legal to minimize begging in the UT. Col RD Singh (retd), Ambala Cantt

QUESTION

There has been a spurt in snatching incidents in the tricity with women becoming easy targets. Do you think the pandemic-induced unemployment is one of the factors behind youngsters taking to such crime? 
Suggestions in not more than 70 words can be sent to openhouse @tribunemail.com 

Authorities should rehabilitate them

It's shameful that poor people beg for alms at traffic points and streets in our City Beautiful. The authorities should round up beggars and shift them to rehabilitation centres with support of social and charitable institutions. Beggars should be given training in skill development so that they can earn their living rather than begging at traffic points and in streets, which paints a poor picture, leads to accidents at times and could possibly spread the virus. Col TBS Bedi(retd), Mohali

Need for adopting a humane approach

Beggary is a slur on the face of City Beautiful. Due to steep rise in joblessness during the Covid crisis, the number of beggars has increased at light points in the city. Considering them as virus carriers,the public has been advised not to give them alms.Beggars need public sympathy not scorn.Many socially conscious volunteers distribute face masks among the poor people, including beggars. SC Luthra, Chandigarh

Stop giving alms

The problem of beggars in the tricity has continued for a long time as the system lies dysfunctional. It has been seen in the past that despite shifting to rehabilitation centres, they escape and resort to their old activities. It is best that people refrain from giving them alms as in the ongoing pandemic they carry the risk of spreading the disease. Sikander Singh, Chandigarh

Tell them to work

Alms seekers pose a threat to us all. The authorities should remove them from light points and if not possible take steps to ensure that they do not loiter at all. They should be made to sit at some fixed spots in markets and near bus stops. In fact, only those should be allowed to seek alms, who are physically handicapped and unable to move around. Others should be asked to work. NPS Sohal, Chandigarh

Shift them to shelter homes

Begging is a social evil.The UT Administration should lodge all beggars in shelter homes. There is a mafia behind beggars. This practice brings a bad name for the country. It also poses a threat of spreading virus during the pandemic.The eradication social evils should not be left to the judiciary, which is running on outdated laws and work culture of the British Era. KC Rana, Chandigarh

Penalise people who give alms

Begging is a challenge not for the tricity but for the whole country. It is a full time profession. In the Covid-19 pandemic begging can spread infection. The Administration should make arrangements of open jails for beggars in each sector.NGOs should provide free food to them as their main contention is that they don’t have anything to eat. Also, beggars should be tested for the virus.The Administration can send back beggars to their native places.Impose fine on the people, who feed them or give them money. Avinash Goyal, Chandigarh

Change orthodox mindset of citizens

Begging has of late assumed alarming proposition in the tricity. Beggars perform no useful social function.Hence, their existence is parasitical. Superstitions and orthodox mindset of our citizens has to be first changed. The solution is to have penal labour colonies, where psychiatrist treatment, skill enhancement, basic education, medical facilities, recreation and nutritious food may be provided to beggars. A total ban on begging at railway stations and bus stands should be enforced. The menace of begging at traffic light points will see a downtrend if such steps are taken. Rajiv Boolchand Jain, Zirakpur

Onus of their safety lies on Administration

Are unfortunate beggars not residents of the tricity?Onus of their safety lies on the Administration.It is apathetic to be oblivious to their plight, which compels them against staying home despite the Covid-19 scare.Why not test them all and arrange treatment where necessary? In our free and welfare state empty stomach should have the first right to public purse and resources.Begging strikes at dignity and psyche of an individual.Beggars must not be expected to buy facemasks, but in public interest they need to get these free.This investment would pay rich dividends. Lalit Bharadwaj, Panchkula

NGOs must come forward to help

Firstly, begging is a crime.So, the Chandigarh Administration should not allow beggars to seek alms. Secondly, we as responsible citizens should not give alms to beggars thereby encouraging them to do so in the future too. The Chandigarh Police should show zero tolerance towards beggars, who have the potential of spreading Covid-19. NGOs should also come forward to help beggars to support themselves during this period of crisis. Bir Devinder Singh Bedi, Chandigarh

Govt should Employ able-bodied beggars

The population of beggars has abruptly increased in the tricity. The pity is that most of them are physically fit. Some must be involved in crimes.Most suffer from infectious diseases such as leprosy, TB and maybe Covid-19.The virus can easily spread when beggars come in contact with people. The government should employ able-bodied beggars. The traffic police should not allow them to wander near traffic light signals. The Administration should arrange shelters for handicapped and aged beggars. People should also not give money or food to beggars. Sumesh Kumar Badhwar, Mohali

Ban practice temporarily

The Chandigarh Administration has always neglected squatters in the city giving them opportunity to flourish. Now, it’s time to go for their Covid check and shift them to home shelters. Residents too don’t lag behind and buy items from them at traffic lights posing a threat to the masses. People should realise the gravity of the situation,follow protocols and avoid beggars.The Administration should ban begging for the time being. Abhilasha Gupta, Mohali

Send them to schools for skill upgrade

The Administration should make arrangements to send small children to special schools where they can learn skill to earn livelihood instead of begging.Physically challenged beggars should be taken care of.Beggars are involved in petty crimes.Involve traffic marshalls to solve the issue. The Chandigarh traffic police is always seen issuing challans to traffic violators, but never bothers to stop illegal activities.The Administration is not willing to take any initiative to end begging.What can one expect from a common man on this issue? Gurpreet Malhotra, Chandigarh

Fulfil their basic requirements

The lives of beggars and those of the people they beg from are at risk as Covid cases are rising in the tricity. Covid can be avoided by staying safe and alert. Provide masks and sanitisers to beggars.They should be apprised of maintaining social distance. Also, provide them tents for living. Encourage them to learn skills so that they can earn their bread with dignity. Anita Tandon, Kharar

Prevention is best way to contain virus

Every one approaching you is a Covid carrier.Taking precautions should be the mantra for containing the spread of virus. If someone approaches any vehicle for seeking alms the occupants should not open the windows. Residents should not give alms in market places or traffic light points. While going out mask should be strictly worn and instructions issued from time to time by the authorities should be followed. Bharat Bhushan Sharma, Chandigarh

Ensure education for them

Those seeking alms at traffic light points and in markets are a nuisance to commuters and shoppers.Authorities should pay attention to those having the potential of spreading Covid-19. Traffic police personnel should be posted at all vulnerable points. All alms-seekers should immediately be hauled up and tested for coronavirus infection. However, as a long-term solution befitting the imperative and postulates of a welfare state, the government ought to ensure their education and vocational training to enable them earn a dignified livelihood. DR SS Bhatti, Chandigarh

Stay focused, keep windowpanes up

Begging is a curse due to poverty, but these days it is an easy source of income. Beggars are not only abominable, but threat to traffic on roads. Their unhygienic living itself is prone to diseases compounded more due to Covid-19.This warrants not only absolute hygiene but observance of other social obligations too. At traffic light points their persistent presence is loathsome. Should drivers pay attention to traffic signals or pay alms to them?Car owners should keep window panes up and remain focused on traffic lights. We should not give them alms in any case. The traffic police deployed at light points should ensure that the area is beggar free. Dr Gurdev Singh, Mohali

Prudent to take strict action

It is true that traffic points and markets see blatant violation of safety norms by beggars. While it is mandatory to wear mask at public place, but beggars apparently pay no heed to this and take no precaution. Violations are taking place right under the nose of the police. In a bid to provide a relief to motorists and others and reduce the impact of coronavirus it is prudent to take strict action against violators. The authorities should enhance surveillance of areas thronged by beggars. Daily and periodically checking can also be helpful. For residents this is a time to save themselves. Do not open windowpanes of vehicles and stop giving money to beggars. Vidya Sagar Garg, Panchkula

Crack the whip on those who give alms

There is no denying that so much has been said and written about beggars, but to no avail. The dispensation needs to walk the extra mile to effectively deal with the burgeoning menace, especially in the new normal situation, triggered by the ongoing battle against the pandemic. The Administration needs to crack the whip on those giving alms to beggars, especially at light points. Police patrolling has to be enhanced during the peak hours. NGOs, sector bodies and residents can play a pivotal role in at least minimising the menace. The public must be apprised of the disastrous outcome of the killer Covid-19 and precautions to be taken. The Administration also needs to take stringent measures way keeping in view the scary situation triggered by the killer virus. Ramesh K Dhiman, Chandigarh

Deploy security where necessary

There is hardly any doubt that begging is a frequent practice in our country. Somehow, poverty and hunger is one of the considerable reasons behind this social menace. Simultaneously, vital part of this community has become accustomed to it for no solid reasons and disguise as hard-nosed thus make use of the generous persons. Keeping eye on spread of the virus, public should either avoid offering them alms or take utmost care and precautions. On the other hand, the Administration should deploy police personnel wherever it is necessary to keep the threat at bay. Surinder Paul Wadhwa, Mohali

Make them earn their livelihood

Nowadays, those seeking alms can spread Covid-19 as you never know whose carrying the deadly virus. Begging should be banned completely. Strict rules must be enforced to prevent begging. Awareness sessions should be held and steps initiated to rehabilitate beggars. Small shelters have to be constructed for them. They need to be imparted skills, which would help them land jobs. They should be made to earn their livelihood by working and not begging. Physically handicapped beggars should be taken care at rehabilitation centres. Dr Shruti K. Chawla, Chandigarh

Combined efforts of society, ut needed

Beggars are at risk of contracting Covid due to lack of knowledge, sanitisers and masks. The problem of begging is not static. It can be solved by providing them skill training, mental and physical health treatment, drug rehabilitation, education and work. Source of livelihood and social intervention seems to be best solution to stop begging. These poor people are in need of help in the time of contingency. Combined efforts by society and the Administration could help in them rehabilitate.  Charu Malhotra, Mohali

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