Pushed to acute poverty, a family has to depend on two minor siblings who earn livelihood by begging alms from the people. With their father dead and mother bed-ridden, they have been forced to go for humiliating work against their interest.
The siblings, Laxmipriya Rout (9) and her brother Rakesh (7) of Sanabakharbad village under Balikuda block of the district said their father died due to an unidentified disease seven years ago as the family could not arrange money for his treatment. With nobody coming to their help, their mother Babylata Rout (35) took to begging.
Babylata, who is an asthma patient, soon fell sick due to lack of adequate food and medicines. Now, she is bed-ridden.
After their father’s death, their elder sister was killed by her in-laws for dowry while another sister, Nayana (12), who was working as domestic help, stopped working after the house owner misbehaved with her.
Bereft of parental guidance and support from any other source, Laxmipriya and Rakesh have taken to begging to feed their mother and themselves.
Babylata said, “Though I receive Rs 300 as widow pension, it is too little to maintain the family. Unable to bear my condition, my two children opted out of school and are going for begging. But they also do not get alms some days for which we go to bed on empty stomach.”
Rakesh said he was reading in Class II and his elder sister in Class IV of Parahat Primary School. “We no more go to school as we have to go for door to door begging. My another sister accompanies me at times. But she has to stay in the house to do household works and look after our mother,” he said.
“If anyone gives us ` five or 10, we return home with some rice. Otherwise, we go without food for the day,” he added.
His sister Laxmipriya Rout expressed her disappointment over dropping out of school. “If we go to school, we can have mid-day-meal but it cannot feed the family, particularly our ailing mother,” she said.
When contacted, Sarpanch Babita Puhan said they had informed the local administration and BDO but no step has been taken. “We have requested the administration to supply rice under Antodaya scheme. Similarly, a school teacher has agreed to convince the two children to attend the classes,” he added.
On the other hand, BDO Lagnajit Rout said they had not received any information regarding the plight of the family. “I would hold an inquiry personally to provide possible assistance to the family,” he added.