arunima ghosh
KOLKATA, 17 JUNE: The state child development department has been caught on the wrong foot by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) and West Bengal Human Rights Commission over poor monitoring and dearth of infrastructure facilities at the homes of the state. This comes a year after the department was dragged into controversy over the murder and rape of an inmate and other irregularities in a home in Hooghly.
The state human rights commission has recently sent a letter to the home department expressing its concern over the poor condition of the homes and urged it to take necessary initiatives. 
Meanwhile, a NCPCR team recently visited the homes of Jalpaiguri and Malda following which a meeting was held with the newly formed State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (SCPCR) at Writers’ Buildings. There are 18 government-run homes and several run by NGOs.
The NCPCR has observed that the infrastructure facilities of the homes are inadequate and has stressed on the need to upgrade the existing facilities. Suggestions have been given for undertaking proper orientation of the home superintendents. It has also pointed out the lack of initiative to update the database of the homes and initiate proper monitoring of the homes.
The Central team has suggested the department to not only to keep a tab on the official documents required for running the homes but also to ensure that initiative is taken to register all homes within 15 September.
An official of the child development department said the department has taken up an improvement plan for the homes that include recruitment of adequate security guards, increase the remuneration of doctors who are engaged on contractual basis as well as preparation of a diet chart for the inmates. The department has decided to seek comprehensive reports from the homes on the problems they face along with suggestions, he said. Issues of updating the database and registration of the homes are also been handled, the official added. Apart from orienting the SCPCR members on issues pertaining to the rights of children, the NCPCR has come up with a host of recommendations on the protection of children from trafficking.
It has urged the state government to map and monitor all the recruitment and placement agencies, a section of which has turned up to be centres for human trafficking.