VIP visits fail to lift mood

VIP visits fail to lift mood

Beggargate: Toll rises to 23; reality-check reveals appalling condition of rehab centre

VIP visits fail to lift mood

An inmate of the Karnataka State Rehabilitation Centre on Magadi Road pleading with a minister  for better living conditions during his visit on Friday. DH Photo/M S ManjunathFollowing an early morning visit by the Home Minister V S Acharya, the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) Commissioner Siddaiah and Karnataka State Human Rights Commission (KSHRC) Chairman S R Nayak visited the spot in tandem. This apart, the Mahalakshmi Layout MLA, N L Narendra Babu and Leader of the Opposition at the BBMP, M Nagaraj were also found at the Colony.

The VIPs’ visit did not make much difference to the attitude of the Colony administrators who did not bother to do much except spray vast amounts of phenyle and sprinkle DDT everywhere, with the chemicals adding a morbid touch to the stench.

Virtually rocked back by the foul odour, the BBMP Commissioner was brave enough to enter the evil-smelling kitchen to inspect the food under preparation for the surviving inmates. The “quality” of the food was bad enough to shock even a hard-boiled bureaucrat such as him. He went pale at the filthy garbage that the kitchen staff were trying to pass for food and ordered the local BBMP Medical Officer (MOH) in-charge to inspect the kitchen regularly henceforth.

“Under the Karnataka Municipality Act (KMC) food preparation and hygiene falls under the Palike jurisdiction. We are not here to conduct an investigation but are trying to make an effort to ensure whatever help can be provided is given immediately,” said Siddaiah later to the media.

The Commissioner stated that Rs 21 crore under the Beggary cess owed to the Rehabilitation Centre had already dispatched and the rest would be made over before the end of the current financial year. “We have given a portion of the balance amount of Rs. 10 crore to the Social Welfare Department,” said Siddaiah.

Meanwhile, KSHRC Chairman S R Nayak who too visited the Colony made an emotional appeal to  Central Relief Committee (CRC) Chairman C N Manjegowda and his staff to mend their ways and work for the welfare of the remaining inmates at the Colony.

Only five food inspectors

Even as the BBMP Commissioner, Siddaiah directed his Health Officials to inspect food preparations on a regular basis at the Beggars’ Colony, it seems to have escaped his mind that there are only five food inspectors for the entire 800 sq km of their jurisdiction.
Siddaiah, who inspected preparation of good the Colony kitchen found the storage of cooked rice piled on a tiled floor covered with a cloth, and buttermilk in which dead insects and mosquitoes were floating. This bilge was to be fed to the inmates. “If any food poisoning cases occur within the Beggars’ Colony we are responsible. So take precaution,” he thundered as a quivering local BBMP medical officer nodded in obedience.

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