In capital of Parwan, population of beggars grows
CHARIKAR (Pajhwok): The numbers of beggars has increased by nearly 46 percent in Charikar, the capital of central Parwan province, compared to last year, officials said.
Director of Martyrs, Disabled, Labour and Social AffairsQudratulalh Riyazat told Pajhwok Afghan News a 2013 survey showed there were 205 beggars in Charikar, but recent statistics put the number at 300.
Joblessness was one of the main factors behind the growing population of beggars in Charikar, he said, adding the numbers shot up in winters where there were fewer work opportunities for the people.
“Earlier, one or two beggars would sit in front of his bakery, but now up to 10 panhandlers-- mostly women -- can be seen there. Some peoplepurchase bread from them, some give them alms and others ignore them,” said a bakery worker on Hofyan road, Shah Bacha.
He voiced his concern over the increasing number of the beggars, asking the government to struggle for poverty alleviation and ending joblessness.
A student of political science, Aminul Haq, said some of tramps were involved in drug addiction, robberies and other crimes due to poverty. The government should try for poverty reduction, he added.
According to the Ministry of Economy, 36 percent of Afghans are below the poverty line. As a result of a fall in foreign assistance, economic problems of the country have worsened.
Poor living conditions:
Khwaja Nazar (75) from Kunduz, seeking alms in Charikar, was displaced to Charikar three months ago due to insecurity in his province.
“I have a wife, two daughters and as many small sons. I have no adult son to earn a livelihood for my family. Thus I am forced into beggingto feed my family,” he argued.
His daughters are 20 and 18 years old and his sons 15 and eight years old. The man earns 100-200 afghanis a day -- not enough to meet his expenses.
A 67 years old woman, introducing herself as Shafiqa, said: “Her husband passed away. Her son married a second wife while leaving his previous spouse and four children at her mercy. I have no income source...”
On a daily basis, she makes 50 afs.With the money gained through begging, she purchases bread for her grandchildren. She does not know how to wriggle out of the taxing times.
“Uncle, I have nothing in my house to eat. For God sake, please help me,” cried a child clad in tattered clothes, sitting on the pavement along with his mother. He asked almost every passerby for help.
The child said his father died four years ago, and they had since been begging to eke out a living. Whenever the boy and mother come out of home, his minor sister and brother stay with neighbours.
If the government provides him proper work, the boy is ready to quit beggary. But will the authorities do so?
But Riyazat said over the past two years, they had admitted more than 100 begging children to school and provided vocational training facility for 60 women.
Some governmental and nongovernmental organisations provide food and non-food items in assistance to the poor families.
Beggars are not swarming only Parwan; they could be seen in all provinces of the country, especially on the streets of Kabul.
Need for infrastructure development:
Vocational training courses and assistance for the poor and needy people is not a permanent solution in terms of poverty reduction and alleviating joblessness.
There was an urgent need for infrastructure development, believed Abdul Qayyum Arif0, a professor at Kabul University.Over the past 14 years, the international community has spent over $100 billion, but there have been few infrastructure schemes.
He stressed the need for exploiting the mining sector, agriculture development, establishing power dams and harnessing the water sources of the country.
If part of the foreign aid had been spent on such schemes, work opportunities could have been created for thousands of people, he thought.
“People were looking forward to the implementation of effective economic policies to improve the citizens’ living conditions. Unfortunately, the public expectations have been shattered,” the professor regretted.
The government had done nothing for the elimination of poverty and joblessness and election campaign pledges remained empty slogs, he alleged.
The government should appoint professional people to key positions, because the individuals recommended by ministers were not professional, he suggested.
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