Authorities banned begging in the city and its suburbs from yesterday (01), and also announced a programme to look into the welfare of helpless persons who have turned to begging.
The ministry’s project director Ranjith Meegaswatte said the nearly 600 beggars in Colombo city would be removed by the police and then be gradually rehabilitated at the Ridigama rehabilitation centre on court orders.
The facility already has 480 inmates, and new buildings have been constructed at a cost of Rs. 80 million to house the newcomers, he said.
Govt. promised amount inadequate
However, BBC Sandeshaya reports that most of the beggars it has spoken to have said the government’s promised amount of money for them was inadequate.
They said they collected between Rs. 1,000 and Rs. 2,000 a day, adding that the government would give them Rs. 3,000 or Rs. 4,000 at most per month.
However, ministry official Meegawsatte said they would be able to earn Rs. 1,500 a day, with their jobs already allotted at the Land Reclamation Board.
He also said those who could not do a job due to various disabilities would be looked after separately.