The century old Beggars Home in the city is undergoing renovation,but the apathetic Social Justice and Empowerment Department is still taking time to fill up the vacant posts. The Beggars Home,which works under the observation of the Sub-divisional magistrate,has a tailoring instructor doing the job of a probation officer.
An employee of the Beggars Home said: It is true that the Social Justice and Empowerment Department has spent Rs 30 lakh in renovating the Beggars Home,which dates back to the time of the Gaekwads,but too little has been done to fill up the posts which are lying vacant for the last five years.
Beggars homes are governed by the Bombay Prevention of Begging Act,1959,which makes begging in public places a punishable offence.
An official of the Social Welfare Department,assisted by the police,conducts raids to pick up the beggars,who are tried in the special court,and if convicted,are sent to certified institutions.
There are beggars homes in four cities in Gujarat: Rajkot,Vadodara,Ahmedabad and Surat.
The municipal corporations give 50 per cent of the grants,which are released after every three months for the maintenance of the homes.
There is not only a shortage of class III officers,but also Class-II officers for the last several months. R B Chaudhary,in-charge of the Social Welfare Department,refused to comment on the issue.
He said: Appeals are made at the Social Justice and Empowerment Department meeting held every month.
Officials from the Beggars Home said several meetings have been conducted,but the posts still remain vacant. The posts of Class II officers have been filled only in Surat,they said.
Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment Fakir Vaghela was unavailable for comment.
F P Halani,the Director of the Social Justice and Empowerment Department said,The department will soon recruit nearly 60 Class-III officials. He,however,did not respond to the query about the vacancies of Class-II staff.