A sixty-year old beggar, with his teenage grandson who is suffering from cerebral palsy, begging on the streets of Dibrugarh town is a common sight.
Five years back Katach Karmakar and his wife Chanmati and grandson 13 year old Vishal were driven out from his own house by his alcoholic son. Since then he has been begging on the streets of Dibrugarh.
Katach, who earlier worked in a tea garden as a daily wage labourer now lives with his wife Chanmati and grandson Vishal in a makeshift hut near Gabharupathar Tinali since past five years.
Katach has two sons and one daughter but all three of them are alcoholic. Katach was badly beaten by his son and driven out from his home. His grandson Vishal after his birth is suffering from cerebral palsy and is very much attached with his grandfather. Almost five years back they were drive out by their children from their house.
Earlier, Katach and his wife worked in Bokel tea estate. Some 70 years ago his family settled here from Chhota Nagpur and working as a labourer in the tea estates. “Past five years ago my sons beaten me and my wife and kicked us out from our house. We came out from our house with our grandson and started begging on Dibrugarh streets. We have no option left apart from begging to earn our daily livelihood,” Katach said. He said from then his sons neither came to take them away to home.
With hiswheelchair-bound grandson they travel up to 10 km for begging. “In a day, we earn Rs 100 to 150. But sometimes we do not get anything. Sometimes people provide us food and clothes,” Katach said. When Katach goes out for begging with his grandson, his wife stays at the makeshift and prepares food for them.
Katach and his wife have voter ID cards and ration cards but still they are not getting the benefits from the government. “The government officials came and assured us for all the benefits but still we are not getting the basic amenities from the government side. We have to struggle for our daily needs. During the winter season we have to struggle the most because we have no warm clothes. Some passerby sometimes provides us some warm clothes,” Katach’s wife Chanmati said.
In all the tea gardens of Assam drinking alcohol is a sort of tradition for the tea garden labourers. This has led to serious domestic violence also.