By Vijay Deo Jha
Ranchi: An NGO-supervised home where 15 girls from a Missionaries of Charity center in Ranchi were shifted a week ago lacks security provisions, proper approach road and uninterrupted power supply.
The administration shifted the girls after a baby sale racket surfaced at Nirmal Hriday managed by the congregation founded by Mother Teresa on Jail Road in the Jharkhand state capital.
The girls are aged between 14 and 17.
Their new shelter in Namkum, some 10 km east of Ranchi, is a single-story building constructed by the state social welfare department four years ago to house a hostel for working women. It was never used and rarely maintained. It now has a leaking roof and peeling plaster.
The shelter, 200 meters from the main road, is also located on the same premises where the Namkum block office is under construction, leaving it very vulnerable after sundown. The State Commission for Protection of Child Rights has directed District Collector Rai Mahimapat Ray to plug gaps as soon as possible.
Commission chairperson Arti Kujur, who recently visited the Namkum shelter managed by Ashraya, on July 9 asked Ray to ensure round the clock security and medical facilities, besides a motorable road and power backup.
“I understand the girls were brought here in a hurry (on July 4), but the authorities should expedite arrangement of basic facilities. Power supply and backup are not enough to even run fans. Pregnant inmates may be facing problems. A refrigerator is also urgently needed to preserve fruits, vegetables and medicines,” she said.
Kujur pointed out that after sunset, the campus went dark in the absence of streetlights, which must be installed on priority basis. Doctors of the local community health center are available during the day, but 24/7 healthcare would be more appropriate, she maintained.
“The shelter has a boundary wall, but it is still located in an isolated place. Deployment of policewomen in the area and routine patrolling are musts,” the commission chairperson said.
Ranchi district child welfare committee chairperson Rupa Verma, who unearthed the racket at Nirmal Hriday, seconded Kujur. “The place in Namkum requires at least a dozen streetlights and round-the-clock patrolling for safety of the girls,” she said.
According to officials of Ashraya, the home has 14 rooms, besides a dining hall, kitchen and toilets. Each room has a double bed with mattress.
“Twelve members of staff, including a cook, a nurse and two male guards, are on duty to take care of the girls. We have six CCTV cameras too and footage is monitored by the staff,” claimed Ashraya caretaker Ajay Tiwari.
Ray promised to plug gaps. “The approach road is indeed necessary. I have directed the Namkum BDO to demolish a part of the boundary wall and connect the campus to a concrete road behind it. I shall also look into other problems,” he added.