Despite three cases of baby theft reported in the city in the recent past, security at the 14 PMC-run maternity homes remains a major concern.
Only one of the 14 hospitals is equipped with CCTV cameras. PMC officials claim that so far baby thefts have been reported only at private hospitals in the city, while one such case was reported at the Yashwantrao Chavan Memorial Hospital in Pimpri-Chinchwad.
Most of the maternity homes have four to six guards, who work in shifts. During the day, there are women guards as well. Almost all maternity homes have around two women security guards from past three to four years.
All the staff members claim that baby-stealing cases do not happen in their maternity homes. “So far we have not encountered this problem,” said a woman security guard at the Sakharam Kundalik Kondre Prasutigruh in Mundhwa. “And such an issue can happen only in big hospitals which are in the city. At small maternity homes like ours, it is impossible to steal a baby.”
A woman security guard at the Annasaheb Magar Prasutigruh in Hadapsar said, “Such incidents happen only when there is an internal family issue. Otherwise it is not possible to steal the child from here in our presence.”
Asked about CCTV cameras, she said, “We do our duties sincerely, so there is no need for CCTV cameras.” On the CCTV issue, PMC Deputy Health Officer Anjali Sabne said, “Only Kamla Nehru Hospital so far has CCTV cameras available. In around a year, we would possibly see CCTVs in all these 14 maternity homes. Also, these maternity homes have not yet seen any such incident (baby theft).”
It was CCTV footage at the Yashwantrao Chavan Hospital that had helped the police identify the woman who stole the one-day-old baby boy.
Sabne said PMC maternity homes do not see many deliveries. “It is easy for the staff to manage as the number of deliveries is less and so such an event is unlikely to happen. Also, baby tags are used,” Sabne said.
Baby thefts this yr
On November 5, an eight-hour-old baby boy was stolen from the Yeshwantrao Chavan Memorial Hospital in Pimpri. The child was later rescued by the police, who took the help of CCTV footage that showed the woman stealing the baby. On August 14, a two-day-old baby was stolen from Sane Guruji Hospital in Hadapsar. Investigation are on. On August 5, Muskan Shaikh lodged a complaint at Samarth police saying that her one-month-old daughter Sidra was kidnapped by two unidentified men from KEM Hospital.