To make Mumbai “begging free”, all police stations in the city have been directed to track down beggars and lodge them at a special home in Chembur after testing them for Covid-19.

The “Zero Beggars” drive will be carried out throughout this month as per the directions issued by Joint Commissioner of Police Vishwas Nagre Patil to all zonal DCPs.

The directions were issued under the Bombay Prevention of Begging Act 1959.

“Begging is a social crime. All police stations have been instructed to detain these beggars, take permission from the court, conduct their Covid-19 tests and then lodge them at the beggars home,” said DCP (PRO) S Chaitanya.

“The drive has been taken up to end the practice of people forcing children to engage in begging. Begging is a social crime, and it gives a bad image to a city like Mumbai,” a senior police official said.

However, experts have raised questions on whether there was enough space to accommodate the beggars at the Chembur home and if they would be rehabilitated.