Sri Lanka bans begging in capital

Maithripala Sirisena

President Maithripala Sirisena of Sri Lanka

President Maithripala Sirisena of Sri Lanka

The Sri Lankan government said on Wednesday that it had banned begging along the roads or in public transport places in capital Colombo effect from Jan. 1, local media reported.

Megapolis and Western Development Minister, Champika Ranawaka, said that according to a survey conducted by the ministry in partnership with others had shown that around 600 beggars are begging within the Colombo city limits.

Others, who were part of the survey, include the Charity Commissioner of the Public Assistance Department of the Colombo Municipal Council, and the Social Empowerment and Welfare Ministry.

He said considering the inconvenience caused to the public and as a measure of the Colombo city beautification programme, it had been decided to prohibit begging in and around Colombo from Jan. 1.

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He said the beggars would be rehabilitated as the Sri Lankan government had constructed a rehabilitation centre in southern part of the country.

“We will first deal with those helpless beggars with kindness. The government will enforce a ban on begging.

“However, those who doing this as a profession should immediately find other livelihood or we will take stern legal action against them using the provisions in the Municipal Council Ordinance,” Ranawaka said.

He also said children, who were begging would be enrolled in schools and the sick would be taken care of.