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Kanke home for shelter plan

A much-needed shelter for battered women is set to come up at Kanke in the state capital, with the State Commission for Women agreeing to run the centre.

Thanks to the initiative of commission chairperson Mahua Maji, the state social welfare department has agreed to part with one of its buildings, lying unused for several years, with chief secretary Sajal Chakraborty okaying the move.

“There is a new building in Kanke block owned by the social welfare department. But, it is lying unused for quite some years. The social welfare department has agreed to give the building to us and the chief secretary has put his stamp of approval too,” Maji told The Telegraph. after a meeting with Chakraborty last month.

Maji, who met the chief secretary, said she had long nurtured the idea of rolling out shelter homes for women in Jharkhand that is woefully short of rehabilitation facilities for victims of rape, abduction or assault.

The commission chairperson, who has been following up on her idea with several senior officials, including the chief chief secretary, said that they were ready to run the Kanke centre.

“We will take care of its (centre’s) functioning if the social welfare department did not have adequate manpower and expertise to run it. I have asked for funds, too, and we are getting it,” Maji said.

A few years ago, the social welfare department had proposed setting up a rehabilitation centre at Rinpas for sex assault victims.

But the move was a non-starter, apparently due to paucity of funds.

On the Kanke shelter, Maji said the idea was to develop it as a short stay, vocational hub. “We are also exploring livelihood opportunities that can be provided to women in the areas of handloom, sewing, cookery etc. The shelter would be run on the lines of nari niketans in other states,” she said.

Maji also voiced concern about the lack of authenticate data on crimes against women and the number of successful rescue missions.

“Therefore, we, at our own level, have decided to step out of our comfort zones and do something. The shelter is one such attempt,” she added.