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Restart programme to rehabilitate beggars, homeless: Former Telangana IPS officer

🔴 VK Singh, who served as director-general of prisons for nearly six years since the formation of Telangana state in 2014, had launched the Anand Ashram programme, under which homeless and destitute were shifted from streets to shelters run by the prisons department.

By: Express Web Desk | Hyderabad |
December 29, 2021 2:23:19 pm
homeless, beggars, rehabilitation program for homeless, telangana govtIPS officer VK Singh was recently appointed by the Uttarakhand High Court as the chairman of the state's prisons reforms committee. (Express File/Shashi Ghosh)

Hyderabad has become a city full of beggars, destitute and homeless, said former IPS officer VK Singh on Wednesday, urging the Telangana government to restart the Anand Ashram programme for their rehabilitation.

Singh, who served as director-general of prisons for nearly six years since the formation of Telangana state in 2014, had launched the Anand Ashram programme, under which homeless and destitute were shifted from streets to shelters run by the prisons department, given medical treatment and reunited with their families.

“Hyderabad was beggar-free two years ago. Today, you have scores of beggars at every junction. No one cares for these people and the government should rehabilitate them,” Singh, who presently serves as an advisor to the Punjab government on prison reforms, said after launching his NGO ‘The Prisons World’ in Hyderabad.

Between 2017, when the initiative (Anand Ashram) began, and 2020, when he left the office, 14,000 beggars were rehabilitated and reunited with their families, Singh said.

The prisons department had a shelter at Chanchalguda Central Prison for 550 men and another one at Cherlapally central prison for 200 women. Around Rs 1 crore from the prison development fund was spent on this. “We counselled beggars, reunited them with families, and also helped them find jobs. It was an integrated approach,” Singh added.

“Prisons have been breeding grounds for criminals and are the least of the priorities for state governments. Jails should not be mere detention centres but places for their reformation,” he added.

VK Singh was recently appointed by the Uttarakhand High Court as the chairman of the state’s prisons reforms committee. Similarly, the Odisha High Court has appointed him as an expert to advise the state on prison reforms.

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