Voluntary organisations working for the protection of children’s rights in north Bengal have requested political parties to ensure shelter homes for children with disabilities and to include their issues in their manifestos for the upcoming Assembly elections.
North Bengal Child Rights Network (NBCRN), a platform of 17 NGOs, which has been working since 2013, has approached parties in this regard. “We feel that friendly shelter homes for children with disabilities are the need of the hour, as there is no such facility in the entire region. The shelter homes are needed mainly for the destitute and abandoned persons, especially women and children. The nearest mental hospital is located at Behrampur, which is more than 350 km away. At the same time, child labour should be eradicated in north Bengal, with special focus on residential homes for rescued child labourers. We have requested the political parties BJP, Trinamul Congress, Congress and CPI-M–to include these issues in their election manifesto,” NBCRN convener Sudeep Bomzan said today.
A member of the forum, Amos Tshering, said that according to the labour department data, around 1500 child labourers had been identified in 2017-2018.
“It appears that the political parties are ignorant of the issue, as children do not have voting rights. There has been lukewarm response from the government about address the issue. There should be a united voice against such vicious evil,” Tshering said.
“We have found that mentally retarded children are most vulnerable. We hope that the political parties will pay serious attention to this during the election campaigns,” he added.