Updated: January 20, 2021 8:06:04 am
Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), the body which caters to civic services in Bengaluru, is all set to conduct a survey on children begging on streets or those working as hawkers in a bid to identify out-of-school children in the city.
In the course of the survey, the civic body would also map traffic points or junctions where such children are found. Speaking to indianexpress.com, Nagendra Naik, assistant commissioner (welfare), BBMP said, “There are many children on streets begging when they should be in schools studying. It is for identifying such out-of-school children that we have planned to conduct a door-to-door survey across the city.”
As part of the initiative, the BBMP, along with Karnataka State Legal Services Authority, Karnataka State Commission for Protection of Child Rights, Bengaluru Police, Department of Social Welfare and the Department of Women and Child Welfare held a day-long workshop on Tuesday for volunteers who will conduct the survey in a few days.
Naik said the survey would focus on traffic signals, markets, busy streets, slums and areas where migrant workers are settled. “To conduct the survey, 48 NGOs have come forward and more are likely to join as the exercise is rolled out. We will collect all details of children aged between six and 14 years, including those who have not gone to school in their lifetime and children who have dropped out,” he said.
BBMP Commissioner N Manjunath Prasad said, “We have formed a committee to identify children begging at traffic signals, markets and other areas. We have to identify the reason why they are begging as only we when we find the exact reason can we stop them from doing so.”
Recalling an incident when he was posted in West Bengal as the district commissioner of Murshidabad, he said, “I got a call from the
Saudi Arabian consulate that 70-80 Indian children had been spotted begging on the streets and rescued. The matter was investigated and it was learnt that these girls were married as minors to men from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, who took them to the UAE and pushed them into begging on the streets.”
“Hence, if we probe deep, we can find out the actual reason why children are begging on the streets of Bengaluru. This is where the survey comes in as it will not help us identify such children but also expose people who are forcing them to beg,” he added.
‘School on Wheel’
After identifying these children, the BBMP plans to get them back to school through an initiative called ‘School on Wheel’. The civic body has sought ten old buses from the Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC), which will be repurposed into mobile schools where these children will be taught, Prasad said.
“A yellow bus will have a whiteboard, cupboards for books and ample space for children to sit for their lessons. Repurposing each bus is likely to cost us Rs 4 lakh and they will be driven to slums and other areas where such children are located through the survey. Teachers from schools run by the municipality will be deputed to teach these children,” Prasad said.
Apart from teaching out-of-school children, the BBMP will also provide mid-day meals to them as part of the ‘School on Wheel’ initiative.
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