Feeble People Are Fed Only After Leaving Their Finger Prints
Old Tbilisi Administrative Board installed a special apparatus for taking finger prints in the free canteen in Leonidze Street. It means that feeble people will receive food only after they leave finger print in the canteen. The poor people consider it is a dishonest activity and they are not going to obey the order. The Administration Board does not see any reasons for panic in the situation.
Three thousand lari was spent on installing the apparatus while only one lari is spent on feeding one poor person in the canteen. 600 people visit the canteen a day. When those people were demanded to leave their finger prints in the canteen, the panic broke out. The impoverished people say that it is not normal when state declares you a beggar and demands finger prints to feed you like a criminal. These people cannot understand why the government needs to take such procedure.
“I was surprised when I arrived here to eat some soup and they demanded me to leave my finger prints. We have turned into beggars in this country and this is enough disaster for us. Now they want to gather information about beggars. Do they feed us with something very expensive to take such measures; are they sorry for spending watery soup and buckwheat on us? Let them employ us and we will not need their food at all,” said Neli Verozashvili, a frequent visitor of the canteen.
According to other socially excluded people, the state wants to boast afterwards for their deeds. “I have not witnessed such swinishness in my life. We are educated people and we are similar part of this society as others. The only difference between us is poverty. But it does not mean that we are beggars and they should not treat us like animals. Many people who visit this canteen have either sick children, or sick mother, brother or some relative at home. They cannot move and that’s why healthy family member is taking food to disabled people. By installing the apparatus, the state deprives those disabled people to get food in the canteen because they cannot come here personally.”
There is one more reason why poor people refuse to leave their finger prints in the canteen. “There are many people who visit the canteen but their relatives do not have information about it. Traditionally Georgian people have never been beggars and it has always been a shame to hold out a hand to beg in the street. None of us wants to leave finger prints in the canteen because after several years we do not want the government to use the information against our children and grandchildren. Nobody will be pleased to learn that their mother, grandmother or aunt was begging.”
Human Rights Center asked the Old Tbilisi Administrative Board to comment on the situation. Natia Firanishvili, the head of the Press Service Department said that the fact should not have caused such a great concern. She promised the center assistance in getting in touch with the members of the Administrative Board to hear their comments on the fact. But later on, representatives of the Administrative Board got in touch with the center and stated that the Governor did not want to make any comments on the situation yet.
The only information the center could get hold of was the reason for installing apparatus in the canteen. In doing so, they wanted to find out exact number of people who visit the canteen. They say that similar apparatus will soon be installed in other free canteens too.
Elene Tevdoradze, the Chairwoman of the Human Rights Committee of the Georgian Parliament, said in her conversation with the Human Rights Center that it is incorrect initiative and impoverished people should not need to be registered at expensive apparatus in order to get food.
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