Andhra Govt offers money to beggars to stay off 'Puskharam'

The Andhra Pradesh Government wants to keep beggars away from bathing ghats during the ongoing 'Godavari Puskharam' and is offering Rs 10,000 to each of them so that they stay away from the religious event, which is attracting lakhs of pilgrims here.

Rajahmundry: The Andhra Pradesh Government wants to keep beggars away from bathing ghats during the ongoing 'Godavari Puskharam' and is offering Rs 10,000 to each of them so that they stay away from the religious event, which is attracting lakhs of pilgrims here.

Municipal Administration and Urban Development Minister P Narayana, who is also Godavari Puskharam Organising Committee (GPOC) Chairman, today confirmed that the Government has come out with such a scheme to keep beggars away from the 12-day festival which will end on July 25.

The scheme is aimed at ensuring pilgrims are not put to any inconvenience and there is smooth movement of devotees, especially at the Pushkaram ghats, and traffic in the temple town. At the same time, beggars are being compensated for loss of income, he said.

Around 200 beggars have been identified by the Government from within the city of Rajahmundry and the Godavari ghats as beneficiaries of the scheme, Narayana said.

Besides the amount, the Government is offering a white ration card to each of the beggars, who are also eligible to be part of NTR Barossa and pension schemes.

According to some estimates, there are currently around 3,000 beggars in the city.

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