Niladri Nilaya: Giving New Lease of Life for Beggars in Puri

Puri: Begging is one of the most prevalent complex social problems in India that has been less understood in all its dimensions. It has always been an object of ephemeral attention of charity in the country and the problem of beggary as such has never been a subject for an in-depth scientific inquiry. As in other old cities of the country, a large number of beggars can be seen begging at the Badadanda as well as in front of the Jagannath temple, Puri bringing a bad impression for the holy city among the visiting pilgrims and tourists from different parts of the world. Since beggars are valuable human resources of the society, it is necessary to provide them equal rights, opportunities, protection, and to bring them to the mainstream.

In order to bring a change in this age old social problem, the Puri district administration in collaboration with the Department of Social Security & Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (SSEPD Department), has launched the “Niladri Nilaya” project that intends to rescue and rehabilitate beggars and give them a new lease of life.

Under this unique “Niladri Nilaya” project, the Puri administration has decided to open eight shelter homes for rehabilitation of beggars with active support of the State Government. As of now six shelter homes have been set up and the administration has roped in Non Government Organisations to manage them.

A survey conducted to identify the beggars begging at different important places in Puri town has so far identified 1062 beggars of which as many as 533 beggars have already been rescued.

Counseling and Psychological Support:

Counseling and psychological support is very crucial and most important for the rescued inmates who are confined to one place. They were aggressive, violent and non-cooperative for few days. But after repeated counseling and psychological support their behavior has changed. Steps have been taken to provide regular group and individual counseling to the inmates of the center.

Quality nutrition and refreshment is necessary for all the people who are being rehabilitated. For this, provisions have been made for food and nutritional support that is being provided as per a food menu prepared by experts. They are served with morning tea, breakfast, lunch, evening tea and dinner. Apart from this, supplementary nutrition is also provided for the weak and sick. For psychological wellbeing, each individual needs recreation. Accordingly, the inmates are provided with television, musical instruments and indoor games. Newspapers and magazines are also being made available in the centre.

Regular Health Checkups

Medical teams of concerned PHC/CHCs visit each centre once in a week for periodical health check-up of the rehabilitated persons. While for common ailments they are given medicines as prescribed, inmates who need further treatment are referred to the District Headquarter Hospital. In regular intervals weight, temperature and blood pressure check up is conducted by ANMs.

Yoga and prayers are beneficial to strengthen the body and mind and also to keeping away from different diseases. Keeping in view the benefits, the shelter home inmates are encouraged and motivated to do Yoga and Morning Prayers by the yoga professional.

Vocational Activities: Making Them Fit For a Decent Livelihood
To provide the inmates an alternative source of livelihood, they need to be motivated and involved and trained in different trades as per their age, health condition and ability to perform. Individual care plan for each inmate is made and they are provided training on candle making, broom making, paper packet making and gardening.

The activities of the rehabilitation centre are being monitored by the District Social Security Officer and PMU members in regular intervals for technical and handholding support. A WhatsApp group has also been created to share information regarding Niladri Nilay on regular basis.

Under the leadership of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, Puri is undergoing a rapid transformation that was due for centuries. While the developmental works are in full swing for transformation of the pilgrim city into a World Heritage City, the Niladri Nilaya project is a good initiative in this direction.

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