Vol. 5 Num 549 Mon. December 12, 2005  
Letters to Editor

Beggars and DMP's role

Mr. Tajul Islam's call to the DMP to do something about the beggars who are a nuisance and who create a bad image of our city and our country was definitely an interesting one. He has asked the DMP to evict these beggars and rehabilitate the deserving ones. Honestly, I think the entire idea is a wishful one. Beggar or no beggar these individuals are also citizens of the country and they have every right to be where they want to be. It is true that when causing a disturbance the police have the authority to arrest or fine them, but they do not have the authority to evict them from the city.

As far as negative images are concerned I doubt if the removal of beggars from the streets would do anything to mitigate the obvious facts. The facts are that we are an impoverished nation where a large percentage of the population depends on agriculture for their income. We are also a corrupt nation where the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. We are an unfair nation where opportunities are available to those with best connections and merit and ability play a small part. We have a country where societies are biased and bigoted and yet we simply ignore the symptoms and turn a blind eye to such acts of bigotry. We have a very high unemployment rate and yet our government does very little to create jobs for the deserving. We have a very high inflation rate and people would starve if they do not beg, steal and commit other forms of crime. Our society is close minded enough that health education is avoided as much as possible to the extent that AIDS will soon become an epidemic.

Given all the above it is highly unlikely that the issue of beggars will be solved. Removal of a handful of beggars from one location results in the availability of space at which point beggars from another location will move. If you have them fined they will have even a greater reason to want to earn that money. They have no education, no marketable skills. We are an extremely small country with a population of 140+ million. Whom are we trying to kid? We are more interested in the beautification of a city so that we can hide certain unpleasant things. I think the city should create jobs, deal with slums and the horrid living conditions, deal with drug issues, AIDS and other health issues and not simply get rid of them, because we can't get rid of them. Bulldozing slums and the eviction of beggars will create even greater problems. I think we should look for solutions that work and not ones that create problems that are worse. The image of our country should be improved first and foremost before we improve the image of Dhaka city.