Prisons director V.K. Singh interacts with footpath dwellers at the Anand Ashram in Chanchalguda on Monday.
Hyderabad: A majority of those who were shifted from the city’s roads and railway platforms to ‘Anand Ashram’, the shelter run by the TS prisons department, said they were not beggars and were picked up while taking shelter.
The two shelters of Anand Ashram, at Chanchalguda for men and Cherlapally for women, host 81 persons presently. They said they could not contact their families after they were picked up.
Mr P. Koteswara Rao from Guntur said that he was brought to the Anand Ashram six days ago when he was searching for his friend’s address at the Secunderabad bus stand. He said he and his sister used to sell fruits on a push cart in Guntur II.
Mr M. Chiranjeevi from Gudimalkapur, said he and his wife were vendors at temples and that he wa picked up from the Balkampet temple last Sunday. Mr B. Venkatesh, who said he was a weaver from Kurnool, claimed he was robbed when asleep at the Secunderabad station.
All three of them said they were unable to contact their families. Director General, Prisons, Vinoy Kumar Singh said they were caught when begging, and that the department was communicating with their families. He said they were allowed to leave after giving an undertaking that they would not beg.
He said the department planned to employ the inmates at six petrol bunks that it planned to open. “We can accommodate 150 persons at Rs 8,000 to Rs 12,000 salary per month,” he said.
Mr Singh said the prison’s industries unit had run up a profit of Rs 15 crore, and the department had decided to spend some of the money on social service.
Prisoners to take care of ‘My nation’ outlets
Director-General, Prisons, V.K. Singh, told mediapersons that the department would start a programme to educate children below 14 years.
He said the department would launch ‘My Nation’ outlets, to be run by prisoners.
The department will focus on Swachh Village goals. “We will try to prevent 80 per cent of crimes in villages,” he said.
He said that after the prisons department had started accommodating beggars and mentally unstable persons at Anand Ashram, 70 per cent of beggar menace had come down. He said organised gangs of beggars had fled the city. Inmates at Anand Ashram are trained in craft works and the department pays them Rs 100 per day.
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