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Beggars to get Rs.5,000 each to stay away from Pushkaralu festival

Happy days are here for at least beggars of Andhra Pradesh as the Naidu government will be soon distributing money to keep them away from where Godavari Pushkaralu, the once-in-144-year event is being held.

The beggars along with the compensation will be getting free food on a condition that they should keep themselves away from the event.

But, Godavari Pushkaram Organising Committee (GPOC) confronts a new problem as hordes of people, and not all of them beggars, are getting in line for compensation.

Over 1,000 beggars have been seen thronging almost all the Pushkaram ghats and according to rules of the government initiative, only beggars who does not possess ration cards and have no access to welfare schemes like the NTR Bharosa pension scheme are eligible to the largesse.

H Arun Kumar, East Godavari collector and GPOC member said, “So far, we’ve identified 200 beggars within the town, but surprisingly others are approaching us as well. We’ll provide reimbursement to genuine beggars after verification at the end of the Pushkaram,” said Kumar.

“The beggar reimbursement scheme is not new for Naidu. The government had used the same trick to shift beggars from Hyderabad to a rehabilitation centre during President Clinton’s visit in 2000,” a police officer said.

In order to make sure that the reimbursement claimants are not forged, the committee is also running a check on the beggar’s fingerprints and matching these with ration card data.