'Adhere to norms or face licence cancellation'

The district Child Welfare Department has yet again asked the authorities at Balgram SOS Children’s Village in Yerawada to segregate boys and girls by the month end, or else face action.

A seven-point letter with suggestions and guidelines on checking abuse of minor inmates sent by the department also warns the shelter home of stringent action if they fail to adhere to the norms laid down by the government. The notice also warns theauthorities of cancellation of licence if compliance to their suggestions is not made in one month’s time. Among the many suggestions, segregation of all children has been made compulsory.

District Women and Child Development officer Suvarna Jadhav,said, “We had earlier given them seven days time limit, but after the trustees of SOS Balgram approached us citing that it is difficult for them to comply with all the conditions, we have given them time till the month end.”

She added, “We have told them clearly that within this time limit if any untoward incident takes place, the trustee members will be held responsible for it.”

Jadhav said that they have asked the authorities to put restrictions on programmes that children prefer to watch. All 10 houses in Balgram are equipped with TV sets and dish antennas with no restriction on choice of programmes watched by the inmates. The letter also suggests shifting the television to a common hall.

Furthermore, the department has asked Balgram to implementa central rationing system instead of the monthly budget system, which requires house caretakers to do their errands by keeping children unsupervised inside the home for several hours.

As it was observed that in the three incidents house mothers or caretakers of respective houses were away from their house for many hours. “The counselling and training of children and housemothers needs to be seriously considered, as in all the cases, their ability to handle situations was inadequate.” Jadhav said.

Three shockers
>> In August, a seven-year-old girl was found dead under mysterious circumstances. Two months later, two employees of Balgram were arrested for negligence, which lead to the death of thegirl.

>> In the last week of October, a complaint was lodged in Yerawada police station against a 14-year-old inmate for allegedly molesting a minor girl in Balgram. As per the complaint, the alleged incident took place in February.

>> Last month, another shocking incident came to light after a 14-year-old boy allegedly molested a seven-year-old minor girl on November 26. 

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