The authorities in Bangladesh’s city of Chittagong say they will pay beggars a daily wage to keep them off the streets during next month’s Cricket World Cup. Some 300 disabled beggars would be paid about $2 (£1.20) a day for three months to compensate them for their loss of earning, Mayor Mansur Alam said. He added that the beggars would also be given a chance to move into rehabilitation centres. Bangladesh is co-hosting the World Cup along with India and Sri Lanka.
Mr Alam said he would meet beggars’ representatives and other officials next week to prepare a list of disabled beggars in the southern city. “We have taken the initiative to rehabilitate the beggars and we are going to expedite it ahead of the Cricket World Cup so that they do not disturb the tourists and spectators. “We will also make a list to stop the influx of the disabled beggars from other parts of the country.” The decision comes days after the government proposed to move all the beggars in the capital Dhaka to welfare centres until the World Cup was over. Despite the government’s efforts to abolish begging, the practice is rampant in Bangladesh: every day beggars can be seen on the roadside, at traffic signals and outside commercial buildings in Dhaka and Chittagong. There is no official figure on the number, but estimates suggest that there are more than 700,000 beggars across the country, many of them physically disabled. – BBC