World Cup ban on Bangladesh beggars

Around 300 physically disabled beggars in Chittagong, Bangladesh's second largest city, agreed on Wednesday to refrain from begging during the Cricket World Cup.

Chittagong is the venue for two Group B matches on March 11 and March 14 when hosts Bangladesh play England and the Netherlands.

"There is no need to beg and vex people when the city authority has pledged to pay us daily sustenance," said beggar Nur Mohammad.

"We beg because physical disabilities keep us away from doing labour for earning."

He was speaking over a loudspeaker before the mayor of Chittagong, the main port city, 300 km (188 miles) southeast of the capital Dhaka.

The beggars gathered at the office of the city Corporation as requested by the mayor, who asked them to accept a daily allowance of 150 taka ($2) each for the next three months in exchange for stopping begging on the streets.

Some 40 percent of Bangladesh's 150 million people live below the poverty line, earning little more than a dollar per day.

The Feb. 19-April 2 World Cup is being co-hosted by Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka.

Bangladesh are in Group B along with England, India, Ireland, the Netherlands, South Africa and West Indies. They begin their campaign against India in the tournament opener in Dhaka on Feb. 19.

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