Saturday, January 25, 2014

Govt turns blind eye to NCPCR report

Little has improved even after 6-month deadline for implementation expired in November 2012
Mayuri Phadnis
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Posted On Wednesday, May 08, 2013 at 01:20:02 AM

Shiva Jadhav, a 9-year-old malnourished boy dreams of becoming a doctor. The dusty environment, in which they live, beside the Lonikand stone quarries, off Wagholi, is not very conducive for his ambition. It lacks basic facilities like water, nutritious food and medical help.

Almost a year after the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) sent its recommendations, the state government has failed to take actions.

Mohan Patil
37,000 children, between the age group of 0-18, are settled in quarry tenements in and around Pune

The report was prepared by Divyakar Mehta, then a consultant with NCPCR, based upon the observations of NCPCR member Yogesh Dube, who was in Pune in May last year, and his consultations with the city based NGO Santulan.

The issues mentioned in the report deal with the plight of mine workers’ children, condition of foster-care homes and child labour. "The deadline given to work on these issues is long gone and the time given to act on these recommendations was six months, which was over on 20th of November," said Mehta.

The data collected by Santulan, which works for the quarry workers, shows there are around 1 lakh people, among which 37,000 are children between the age group of 0-18, settled in quarry tenements in and around Pune.

The report suggested the state government to extend the Integrated Child Development Scheme to vulnerable places such as these quarries and provide proper medical facilities.

It further stated that there should be a medical examination to identify the malnourished children and also provide treatment, if needed. It further specifies that there should be an anganwadi with proper facility for food storage and clean cooking area near the quarry.

However, when Pune Mirror visited the Lonikand quarries, there was no sign of any implementation. In case of an emergency or illness, the workers have to walk 5 kms to Lonikand village, where the nearest anganwadi is located.

Workers are forced to cook out in the open, admist all the dust due to the absence of an anganwadi. “We dont have proper facility to store cooked food, the left over food if any always goes waste," said Nagubai Choughule, an occupant and whose son works in the mine.

"The dust becomes intolerable when the crushers come in the evening," said Laxmi, who was playing near the quarry. However, Ashok Mankar, Deputy Commissioner, Women and Child Welfare, Pune claimed that the directives have been sent to the concerned field officers.

He further said, “It is also the duty of such people to approach us, requesting for an anganwadi. Only then we can initiate action.”

However, Bastu Rege, founder and director of Santulan paints a different picture. "The officials are not aware of ground realities. Passing a mere directive is not enough. They have to ensure that work is getting done," he said.

  NCPCR Reccomendations  

•   Medical check-ups should be held to identify malnourished and Severely Acute Malnourished (SAM) children

•   The malnourished children should be prescribed proper diet and the SAM children should be prescribed protein powder for catch up growth

•   There should be an aganwadi building as per norms

•   The anganwadi hould have proper facility for storage of food and utensils and clean cooking area

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