After an initiative to make Hyderabad 'beggar free', the Telangana Prisons department has planned to set up beggar rehabilitation centres across the state, a top official said today. It had set up 'anand ashrams' (special homes) for rehabilitation of beggars in Chanchalguda and Cherlapalli (central prisons) in the city after it launched a drive in October last year in coordination with the police and municipal authorities against the menace of begging, officials said. "As many as 3,749 beggars (2,447 men and 1,302 women including children) from various localities of the city were admitted to these 'anand ashrams'.
We have now sent a proposal to the state government to set up such 'anand ashrams' in the premises of district jails," Director General (Prisons and Correctional Services) VK Singh told reporters here. "Drug addicts and couriers who moved about in the form of beggars are no longer roaming free. Hyderabad is almost beggar free. We want to extend the beggar rehabilitation programme across the state," he said. Out of the beggars admitted at the 'anand ashrams', a total of 3,526 were released after counselling and handed over to their relatives following an undertaking that they would not beg in future, Singh informed. However, he added, as many as 235 persons were again caught begging and picked up and shifted to the 'anand ashrams'. The department, as part of its scheme to offer a reward of Rs 1,000, up from Rs 500 earlier, to those who give information about beggars, has so far disbursed an amount of Rs 16,000 as reward to citizens, another senior prisons official said.