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Home for child rehab

Small steps make a big difference, believes state social welfare minister Annapurna Devi, who has decided to revamp an existing, albeit dormant, shelter for destitute women to rehabilitate victims of child labour and trafficking.

Lauding Ranchi-based voluntary organisation Bharatiya Kisan Sangh for helping rescue children from Godda allegedly trafficked to Kerala, the minister is learnt to have asked the NGO to draw up a renovation budget for Nari Niketan in Kanke block of the district and run it as a haven for tormented children.

Annapurna Devi on Friday held detailed discussions on the matter with State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (SCPCR) member Sanjay Mishra, who also happens to be the Jharkhand co-ordinator of the voluntary outfit. On Saturday, she will hold a similar meeting with acting chief secretary Sajal Chakarborty in the presence of SCPCR members and NGO officials.

Speaking to The Telegraph, the minister said: “They (NGO officials) have done a commendable job and we want them to carry on with the good work. I have directed Bharatiya Kisan Sangh members to revive the centre (Nari Niketan) and use it to rehabilitate children.”

She also urged NGO officials to put the toll-free number floated by her department to good use like report sighting of missing children. “In fact, we want this helpline to be used regularly by social organisations and the common people so that we can bring all our lost children home,” she added.

Sanjay Mishra told The Telegraph that the minister had praised their proactive attitude that helped trace the 119 children in Palakkad and reunite them with their families in Godda. “It is not just a state’s achievement, but a challenge won by humankind when innocent lives are saved,” he said.

Mishra said they would soon prepare the budget for renovation of Nari Niketan. “Annapurnaji has asked us to draw up cost details for restarting the centre in Kanke block. Tomorrow, we have a meeting with the chief secretary-in-charge to enroll the 75 rescued girls at Kasturba Gandhi residential schools. We need support of the education department in the matter,” he added.

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