A three-storey shelter home for rescued children, including child labourers and victims of trafficking, constructed more than three years ago on the campus of the regional employment office of Dhanbad has turned into a garbage dump yard after lying vacant for years.
Lack of coordination between different government departments including the labour, employment & training department; building division and social welfare department is said to be the primary reason for the present pitiable state of affairs of the department.
Government security agencies like the railway protection force, state police and also labour department officials are facing problems in providing temporary accommodation to rescued children.
Talking to The Telegraph Online on Monday, Shankar Rawani, a well-known child right activist of Dhanbad who is also the president of NGO Jharkhand Gramin Vikash Trust said, “We have written to the district administration and government several times demanding handing over of the shelter home several times earlier but no response is in sight.”
Rawani while highlighting the problem being faced in providing shelter to rescued children said, “Due to lack of shelter homes in the district, altogether 25 child labourers of Jamatara, Deoghar, Madhupur, Narayanpur and Tundi rescued on December 21 and 22 from two different bakery units were kept in a government residential school of Hirapur for two to three days until their parents arrived from the respective places to take them back.”
Echoing his sentiments, Kumar Madhurendra Singh, former president of Bartand Chamber of Commerce and a member of Child Line said, “As per the laid norms, any child recovered by the police or other law enforcement agency whose address or family members are not known can’t be kept at childline office for more than 24 hours and thus are usually referred to Bokaro based shelter home.”
The construction work for the shelter home in Dhanbad began six years ago as per a proposal of former deputy commissioner of Dhanbad, Prashant Kumar.
As per the original plan, the shelter home meant for primary rehabilitation consisted of a study room, computer room, individual care room, vocational training room and a health care centre among other amenities.
Contacted, Rakesh Sinha, Assistant Labour Commissioner, said, “We have written to the district social welfare department for taking charge of the centre several times and are awaiting their response as the shelter homes are usually operated by the social welfare department.”