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Beggars’ Colony will make way for “mini-Lalbagh”

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MARKED FOR PRESERVATION: Children swimming in Ullal Lake at Ullal, which was taken up for development by Bangalore Development Authority on Wednesday.
MARKED FOR PRESERVATION: Children swimming in Ullal Lake at Ullal, which was taken up for development by Bangalore Development Authority on Wednesday.

Staff Reporter

Chief Minister announces this during surprise visit to the premises

Bangalore: The ruefully neglected Beggars’ Colony at Sumanahalli on Magadi Road is set to become a beauty spot in its new avatar as “mini Lal Bagh,” according to Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa.

Occupants of the 159 acres of prime land would be relocated, Mr. Yeddyurappa told presspersons during a surprise visit to its premises on Wednesday. He said he had given the management of the Colony “one month” to improve living conditions. “We will be inquiring into the health, food and working conditions of the inmates,” he said.

The Beggars’ Colony was established in 1944 to serve as rehabilitation centre for those arrested for begging. According to C.B. Gokak, superintendent of the colony, there were 922 inmates here, of whom 131 are mentally disabled, 45 are persons with disabilities, and 402 elderly.

The Colony is funded by Beggary Cess collected by civic authorities and operates according to the stipulations of the Central Relief Committee Rules for Prohibition of Beggary Act 1975. According to the Act, each inmate is entitled to two sets of clothes for a year. Any “insubordination” or “misbehaviour” on the part of the occupants — which includes singing, “making loud noise” or “quarrelling” — will be met with punishment, according to the rule book. The punishments enumerated range from reduction in meals (which often consists often of ragi mudde) to denial of visitation rights.

Lake development

Earlier in the day, at the inauguration of a multi-crore lake development project, the Chief Minister said that the colony, when relocated, would be renamed as the word “beggar” had derogatory overtones. His aim was to ensure that no one was seen begging on the streets of Bangalore in the next two years. There was a proposal to build a hospital on the site at Sumanahalli.

Mr. Yeddyurappa said that four hospitals were to be established in the city “on the lines of Bowring Hospital”.

At Ullal Lake in Vishveswaraya Layout, the Chief Minister flagged off a Rs. 104-crore project to develop 12 lakes in the city, undertaken by the Bangalore Development Authority. The project will involve dredging, creating walking paths, installing chain-link fences and making provisions for boating and security. The 12 lakes include: Ullal Lake, Jakkur Lake, Sampigehalli Lake, Rachenahalli Lake, Venkateshapura Lake, Mallathahally Lake, Kommaghatta Lake, Thalghattapura Lake, Konasandra Lake, Sompura Lake, Ramasandra Lake and Kothanur Lake.

Parallel to this, another 21 lakes would be developed by the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike at Rs. 190 crore in the first phase of the lake development project. Minister for BWSSB Katta Subramanya Naidu, Minister for Transport R. Ashok and Minister for Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Shobha Karandlaje spoke.

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