The GVMC, in association with various NGOs and the city police, will soon start tackling the begging mafia employing children and infants. They will be curbing and putting an end to beggars carrying around children.
Reportedly, over three dozen beggars carry children while they beg in the city’s core limits. A group of rowdy sheeters are said to be supporting them. The way it works is that an organised team of these people hire women and children for their illegal activities. The begging mafia then collect upto Rs 40,000 daily with the peak hours of begging being 08:30 AM – 10:00 AM and 05:00 PM – 08:00 PM.
A member of the Visakhapatnam district unit of National Child Labour Project and city convener of the Child Labour Protection Forum, Gondu Seetaram, reportedly stated that they have information that beggars roam with children below three years near Big Bazaar, Railway Station, NAD Kotha Road, Gajuwaka, Maddilapalem and Satyam Junction. He further stated that the children are hired for Rs 200 per day and the women are hired for illegal activities.
Reportedly, in 90% of the cases, there will be no blood relation between the woman who’s begging and her child. It is a serious crime if it is not eliminated at the earliest as they maintain a good network via smartphones and WhatsApp to spread word in case enforcement agencies carry out raids. There were recent raids at Satyam Junction recently but all the beggars managed to escape.
GVMC Commissioner M Hari Narayanan told TOI that their Urban Community Development (UCD) wing will soon start to keep a tab on begging activities with the help of NGOs as a part of the smart city project. “We are preparing an action plan to keep a tab on the begging mafia. We will hold some meetings with the NGOs and even the police, who are most important to us to go ahead on our work due to security problems. We will mostly likely begin our action from May,” said UCD project director D Srinivasan.