Is Karnataka turning into a home for beggars from outside the State? Yes, according to Central Relief Committee chairman K. Ramalingappa.

At least 75 per cent of the total population of beggars in the State are from other States, Mr. Ramalingappa said.

Speaking to presspersons here on Thursday, the committee chairman said the State Government was finding it difficult to repatriate them. Hence, it had taken measures to house them at relief centres in different districts.

Improving conditions

Hinting that more such centres would be established, he said the deaths of residents at the Beggars' Rehabilitation Centre in Bangalore had opened the eyes of the Government. Subsequently, measures have been taken to improve the living conditions in these centres.

Presently, there are 14 rehabilitation centres across the State, including one at Belgaum. Mr. Ramalingappa said he was inspecting facilities such as housing, food, clothing and medicine at these centres and had already visited the ones in Bangalore, Mysore, Tumkur, Davangere, Chitradurga and six other districts.

‘Only genuine cases'

The committee chairman advised officers concerned at the rehabilitation centres to provide shelter only to genuine cases, where people are destitute. To a question, he said the municipal corporations of Belgaum and Hubli-Dharwad were to clear Rs. 5.66 lakh and Rs. 2.43 crore in beggar cess, that had already been collected.