| Social welfare minister Parveen Amanullah at the rehabilitation centre in Patna on Monday. Picture by Jai Prakash |
The state government started its first rehabilitation centre for beggars and destitute in the city on Monday.
The facility, set up by the social welfare department, is for men. Thirty-four beggars and destitute have been provided accommodation. The inmates for the centre have been brought from different areas in the city, including Gai Ghat, R-Block, Boring Road and Nehru Nagar. Similar centres for women and families are in the pipeline.
Social welfare minister Parveen Amanullah said the process to start rehabilitation centres is on in seven other districts too. “The other districts that have been identified for setting up the facilities are Gaya, Nalanda, Muzaffarpur, Purnea, Bhagalpur, Rohtas and Darbhanga. The government is working towards rehabilitating beggars and destitute and bringing them into the mainstream of society,” she said.
The facility has been set up under the social welfare department’s Mukhyamantri Bhikshavriti Nivaran Yojana. The scheme started in 2011 deals with several objectives with the priority to raise the identity and self-esteem of beggars and rehabilitate them. It also deals with the socio-economic empowerment of beggars by providing them access to healthcare facilities.
The scheme is implemented by the State Society for Ultra Poor & Social Welfare.
Minister Amanullah said: “Very soon, the department will make separate rehabilitation centres for female beggars and families.”
Justice Rajendra Prasad, a former member of the State Human Rights Commission, Bihar, hailed the government’s initiative to rehabilitate the beggars. He said: “British historian Lord Macaulay in one of his speeches in 1835 said while travelling to India he did not see one person who was a beggar and thief. But things have changed now and at present, our motive should be to ensure the beggars have access to the benefits of the different government schemes and also organise them in self-help groups.”
An inmate from Hajipur, Raju Singh, said: “I never thought I would be able to live this life. After spending several years on the streets of Patna, I have finally got a home.”
Sudharshan Choudhary from Rohtas district said: “It is the happiest moment of my life to get shelter. Living on the streets forces one to become a thief. There is no other alternative. However, now I can live a good and healthy life.”