Colombo, Dec 20 – Begging will be prohibited along the roads or in public transport in the Sri Lankan capital Colombo from Jan. 1, 2018, Megapolis and Western Development Minister Champika Ranawaka said on Wednesday.
He said according to a survey conducted by his Ministry in partnership with the Charity Commissioner of the Public Assistance Department of the Colombo Municipal Council and the Social Empowerment and Welfare Ministry around 600 beggars operate within the Colombo city limits, the local Daily Mirror reported.
Minister Ranawaka said considering the inconvenience caused to the public and as a measure of the Colombo city beautification programme, it has been decided to prohibit begging in and around Colombo from Jan 1.
However he said it is also an intention of the ministry to rehabilitate those beggars from their miserable livelihood, and the Sri Lankan government had constructed a rehabilitation center worth Rs. 80 million at Rideegama, Ambalanthota for them.
“We will first deal with those helpless beggars with kindness. However those who doing this as a profession should immediately find other livelihood or we will take stern legal action against the latter using the provisions in the Municipal Council Ordinance,” Minister Ranawaka said.
Further he said the children who were begging would be provided with school education and the helpless and sick would be taken care of.
The Minister also reminded that there are various categories of beggars in Colombo including drug addicts therefore the initiative would be carried out gradually.
He requested all the beggars to seek the assistance of the Commissioner of the Public Assistance Department at the Colombo Municipal Council if they find any livelihood difficulties and urged to refrain from begging.