Begging will be banned in Shillong from September 2009 to refurbish the image of the Meghalaya’s capital as a clean city.

“The government has decided to crack down on beggars by making begging an offence from September 1. Action would be taken against offenders by the Shillong Municipal Board,” the State’s Urban Affairs Minister, Paul Lyngdoh, said here last night.

It is a part of the drive to beautify the state capital through the ‘Clean Shillong Campaign’ in order to restore its lost glory, he added.

The East Khasi Hills Deputy Commissioner has been asked to crack down on beggars, even though no clear-cut guidelines were issued on how to go about the job.

“There are a good number of beggars and pavement dwellers in the city. Some of them are adults in poor health condition. Moreover, there are many juveniles who roam about in the city as beggars,” he said.

A Cabinet nod is awaited to amend the Shillong Municipal Act, 1973 through an ordinance. The proposed amendment seeks to increase the penalty against vendors and public who create public nuisance.

“People are seen spitting and doing other things that cause public nuisance. The penalty for such offences would be increased from Rs 10 to Rs 200,” Lyngdoh said.

Around 49 volunteers, including staff from Meghalaya Urban Development Authority (MUDA), would be engaged in the task