The uproar over rapes of minor girls at the Muzaffarpur shelter home, death of two inmates and severe health problems afflicting two others at the Aasra shelter home in Patna, and the disappearance of a girl from a shelter home in Madhubani have finally galvanised the Nitish Kumar government into action.
The initial challenge before the Bihar government is to prevent recurrence of such cases and also address growing health concerns of inmates at most shelter homes across the state.
Though the department has decided to completely phase out all non-government organisations running shelter homes in Bihar, this cannot happen overnight, government officials said.
“Money is not a constraint, as the new dispensation will not require more than an additional Rs 50-Rs 60 crore. The department has a huge budget of around Rs 8,000 crore. We are working to evolve a system, but also trying to streamline the existing system for remaining period by ensuring daily inspection of homes to assess the situation and take immediate corrective measures,” said Raj Kumar, director, department of social welfare.
Executive director-cum-special secretary, health, Lokesh Kumar Singh has written to superintendents of all medical college hospitals and chief medical officers to ensure regular check-ups. “There should be part-time deployment of MBBS doctors for at least three days a week on regular basis at all shelter homes. Children should also undergo regular immunisation, and health concerns must be adequately addressed,” he wrote.
Singh has also called for constituting permanent medical board to verify the age of children at these homes within 15 days.
“The civil surgeons of districts and superintendents of medical college hospitals will be accountable for compliance,” he wrote.
“We will soon place a proposal for state-level recruitment of staff. For hiring buildings, we will issue tenders. The payment to staff will also be revised as it is quite low at present, adding that Instead of private guards, policemen would be deployed,” the official further said in his letter.
Courtesy: Hindustan Times