timesofindia.indiatimes.com › City
Incredible Madhya Pradesh: Beggars' village strikes it richAmarjeet Singh | TNN | Jan 25, 2015, 03.14 PM IST
RAJKHAD (SINGRAULI): Rows of concrete houses, some with fresh coat of paint dot the rural landscape of a non-descript Rajkhad village in Singrauli district of Madhya Pradesh. No sign of poverty or struggle for a living. But here's the shocker - majority of residents are professional beggars, who make big money from alms.
This village has a population of 400 and its residents move across the country to beg, which is their only source of income. They travel to faraway places like Punjab, Delhi and Haryana in groups. And they earn a decent living compared to many in other parts of the state.
When this correspondent visited the village and enquired about a newly built house, the sarpanch Kamal Prasad Kol said, "It's the house of Swaroop, who died few years ago. He has three daughters and all are married. The house was painted afresh before their third daughter's marriage, which was held last year".
"He used to beg. Now, there is no one at home as his wife, Chimni Bai, has also gone out for begging," said Kol.
"Almost 80% residents of the village travel to various parts of country to beg. It's primarily because they don't have land for cultivation or decent jobs. Their land was acquired by Northern Coalfields Limited and they were given paltry compensation," said Kol.
Rajesh Basod, 22, who recently returned from Punjab said, "I always go to Darbar Sahib, Amritsar. It's not easy going to another state and beg for a living, but we manage to earn more than Rs 500 every day. Back home, we barely earn Rs 150."
"We go out in groups and live in tents. Normally, we stay for two months and then return to Rajkhad. Then we hit the road again in a couple of months," said Basod.
Rajlaxmi, 26, whose family members recently went on begging trip, said, "We lost our land and have nothing left. It's for this reason that we go to Punjab, Delhi and Kolkata to beg. After all, we need to take care of our family".