LAHORE Believe it or not but it is a fact that about 0.5 million beggars mostly gypsies, who made their influx into the provincial capital during the last decade, are attached with this dirty business under the patronage of local political leaders, gangsters and the police concerned. Over 60 prominent local leaders, notorious gangsters and the police concerned have been patronising these reddish, black coloured, unskilled and illiterate beggars, who can be seen at various points, crossings and public places in the City, a survey conducted by TheNation says. It is learnt that majority of the beggars neither hold any ID card nor they are registered with any government agency as the government has failed to prevent the illegal migration of people to the City since long. A ringleader of a begging group says there are number of nomads tribes across Pakistan including Jogi, Kungray, Qalander and Lullay, living in the outskirts of the provincial capital including Mehmood Botti, Shafiqabad, GT Road, Sheikhupura Road, middle strip of Sabzazar, Multan Road, Qasur Road and Sharqpur areas. Lacho Badmash, Kalu Shahpuriya, Changer Shah, Chela Bhai, Manghu Bhai, Langra Veri, Jadoo, Waryam, Chura Bhai, Kana Changer, Deedhi (woman), Achu, Noora Qasai, Abhi Shah, Mughal Badshah and etc are the prominent ringleaders (Thamboos) of various begging groups. The local leaders, gangsters and police are protecting these gangs and receive their monthly shares from their ringleaders. Each ringleader allocates hot spot to his begging group and provides them facility of pick and drop and is also responsible for his/her release if the police nab his beggar as half of the begging money defiantly goes to the ringleader. According to the survey, Qalanders population stands 16,100, Changar 32,000, Oddhs 24,000, Musali, 36,000, Bhato 54,000, Jogi 10,500, Nutt 1,800, Kungray 1,200, Bazigar, 2,400, Marasi, 6,400, Lullay-Marasi, 28,000, Koray, 4,200, Koraj Mar 1,200, Gugray 4,200. These tribes have adopted different professions including begging, dancing and amusing through various funs. Earlier, the members of these tribes only beg but the arrival of Afghans and Tajik groups forced them to commit crimes resultantly the number of robberies, dacoities, pick pockets and drugs sale, as well as the crimes of other natures have increased in the City. These members including women and children can be seen in front of markets, hospitals, courts, shrines and plazas having monkeys, receiving alms from people by performing different tricks. During the last couple of years, these beggars have changed their way of begging. Now almost half of the beggars mostly young men have been indulged in committing crimes of serious natures. The pinnacle is being observed at Lorry Adda and Railway Station. According to the survey, over 45 prominent groups of beggars mostly from nomad tribes have captured the City into their iron clutches under the patronage of a contractor, commonly known as Thambo, who supervises a group of beggars comprising 50 to 500 people. Contracts are sold on millions of rupees in special areas of the City on the eve of special festival. A Thambo, wishing not to be named, confessed that they were forced of indulging in drug peddling and other crimes on the pressures of local leaders. After repeated requests regarding the identification of what he named 'local leaders the Thambo said as, You can know about their identity by get details of their mobile numbers by requesting any secret agency. Due to pressure, we pump women, young girls and minors into various homes and observe the specified home and later commit crimes according to the nature and valuables present at the home. Yes, we kidnap minors, make them physically cripple and later force them to beg at various points, he further added. Owing to poor planning by the authorities concerned and criminal silences by the police department, no measures have been taken against these beggars or to reduce begging. According to the Begging Act a beggar can be detained only for 72 hours, but the district police have never arrest any beggar so far. However, the official record shows the City Traffic Police on special directives of the Chief Traffic Officer (CTO) SSP Syed Ahmed Mobin, lodged 93 FIRs against beggars during the last four month so far.