The Chennai Corporation plans to remove beggars from the streets and rehabilitate them.
Those found at traffic signals will be the first targets, according to Mayor M. Subramanian.
He said that many people were using infants to beg at signals.
“When we asked around we found that the adults either stole the children or brought them promising to pay the parents some money. The children are fed tea that is spiced with medicine to make them drowsy.”
Timeframe to be set
The Mayor said a time frame would be set for those involved in begging to leave the city.
If they do not comply with the deadline, the civic body would remove them from the roads.
“We will seek the assistance of police, non-governmental organisations and the Social Welfare Department. The beggars are not just a nuisance but also create health hazards for road users. They use up pedestrian space as they sleep and live on footpaths,” Mr.Subramanian said.
Several motorists also complain that begging at busy traffic junctions posed safety risks. The Corporation had recently launched a drive to admit mentally disturbed persons found wandering on the streets in the hospital.