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T'puram: Beggar rehabilitation drive reaching nowhere

T'puram: Beggar rehabilitation drive reaching nowhere

The City Police have started a drive to rehabilitate the beggars in the city. But the question remains: to where?

Thiruvananthapuram: The City Police have started a drive to rehabilitate the beggars in the city. But the question remains: to where? The lack of ample space at the beggar rehabilitation centre in Kothalam Road in Fort poses a big hurdle to the rehabilitation move. At present, there are 45 inmates, including men and women, in the rehabilitation centre, set up under the ‘Sakshathkaram’ project of the City Corporation.

In the small building, life here has nothing much to offer the inmates. Of course, it is a place to live. But not for rehabilitation in the right sense. Most of the inmates cannot even see the difference between their present life and the one they spent on the streets. “The main problem is that here we do not have ample space to keep them engaged in any kind of work,” says Manoj Kumar C, a junior health inspector in charge of the administration of the centre.

The absence of anything to do keeps a section of the inmates in the same abnormal state of mind they had when they were brought to the centre. As one steps into the centre, the behaviour of the inmates would tell that the rehabilitation has not achieved the intended result.

“I have contested elections 40 times,” says Komalakumari, an inmate who shows symptoms of mental disturbance. Though the persons who have been assigned to look after the inmates try their best to keep the inmates in better mental and physical health, the result was not remarkable. “We have started a drive to pick the beggars from the street. But the question is where to rehabilitate them,” says City Police Commissioner T J Jose.

The number of inmates here has always been more or less the same. “Though some of the inmates were sent away with their relatives, they came back to street. We brought back some inmates who had fled from the centre. So, at the centre, the number of inmates is always around 50,” says Manoj Kumar.

Accommodating more persons at the centre is something which would destroy the very purpose of the centre. However, like many other projects, the talk about a new rehabilitation centre of the City Corporation has been heard for sometime, but no steps have been taken in this regard.

first published:June 11, 2012, 13:18 IST