24 January, 2021

The New Twist: Garib Hatao

NGOs cry foul over Delhi Police's ban on buying and giving alms at traffic lights

Gireesh G.V.
The New Twist: Garib Hatao
Eliminating the poor has never eradicated poverty. But removing them from the streets, where some beg and work for sustenance, makes for smoother traffic flow, insists the Delhi police. Unyielding cop logic that has made giving alms or buying wares at traffic crossings an offence in the capital since September 6, punishable by a fine of up to Rs 300. An unprecedented new rule that has activists and NGOs fuming, dubbing it anti-poor, and even anti-people.

An expected backlash, perhaps, in a city where lakhs scrounge for survival on its mean streets. Homeless, aged, disabled, penniless men, women and hapless children, who beg and sell at traffic junctions through sweltering summer days, and sleep fitfully on the pavements on freezing winter nights. Sure, vagrancy is ugly, begging undesirable and best discouraged, child labour deplorable, and edging in and out of the maddening rush of vehicles to sell two-bit wares hazardous. But then, whoever said the solution was as simple as banning all of this? Can roads be so easily wiped clean of all the dilemmas that plague development in...


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