Residents give up unlawful activities and educate their children and find gainful employment
Is change sweeping through the ‘Mangar Basti’ at Mallepally? It does appear so, if one visits the area that is infamous in the police records for its pocket-picking and chain-snatching gangs that operate in various parts of the city.
Even as the area lives up to its image, there is a silver lining too.
An increasing number of children from this basti are attending schools while many youngsters are now employed at various private institutions.
About 150-odd men work as contract employees with the GHMC entomology wing and take up anti-larval operations, fogging and cleaning works.
“People are coming forward to educate their children and youngsters as they do not want to be on the wrong side of the law anymore,” G. Satish, who works with the GHMC, says. Many youth who have studied up to high school are working on menial jobs at various offices, he explains.
“More than 40 per cent children are enrolled in various primary schools around Mallepally and a few have been admitted in hostels. An anganwadi school was functioning with a good strength till recently,” a woman social worker points out.
Inhabited mostly by the people hailing from poor economic background, the area is notorious for organised criminal gangs, including pocket-pickers and snatchers, who operate in APSRTC buses and MMTS services.
The gang members steal chains and money from the commuters in busy areas of the city by way of livelihood.
In the past Mangar Basti was home to several City Dossier Criminals (CDC) and police teams from across the city and neighbouring districts used to scout the area to apprehend them.
Now only Feroz gang, Hattagadi Heera gang and Mallepally Khaiser gang have their base here.
The locals point out that the gang leaders are now eyeing and using the children from the locality to help in their activities and are paying them a substantial amount for the job.
“What they pay the children is mere peanuts while the gang leaders make off with a major portion of the loot,” Ganesh (name changed) a local says.
Cashing in on the situation are a few local financers who are always ready to offer loans to the families of those arrested.
However, once out on bail the youth get back to criminal activities in order to clear the loans, it is said.
An official of the Habeebnagar police station, under whose jurisdiction the area falls, said that the crime parties of the police station keep a vigil on the area all the time and admits to the colony being home to many criminals.