Efforts on to revive twin rescue centres

Social welfare department plans to rope in NGOs to run Ranchi, Delhi hubs

By A.S.R.P. Mukesh in Ranchi
  • Published 15.06.18
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Ranchi: Two resource centres, one each in the state and national capitals, set up around four years back to help women and child trafficking victims and curb the influence of dubious placement agencies, are being revived after these had failed to take off due to bureaucratic lethargy and a lack of clarity on their functioning.

Director of integrated child protection scheme (ICPS) Rajesh Singh said they had begun work seriously on reviving the two centres.

"We plan to outsource the centres to a trusted agency with experience. We have uploaded a notice in this regard on our website asking interested parties to apply latest by the first week of July," said the director of the scheme under the state social welfare department.

Rescue of abused children and battered women from Jharkhand, who have been working as domestic helps in places like Delhi and UP after being trafficked, is common. It indicates Jharkhand's failure to have a proper mechanism in place to either keep a tab on those leaving the state in search of a livelihood or crack down on dubious placement agencies that exploit the scenario.

The continued inactivity of the resource centres has, in fact, invited criticism from Jharkhand High Court. While hearing a PIL in connection with the welfare of victims of trafficking and policies related to child development, the court commented in February that the bureaucracy in Jharkhand was doing the work of the government only on paper.

The resource centre in Ranchi was set up at the CID office at Doranda in association with NGO Save the Children, police and the social welfare department. The Delhi centre was set up at Jharkhand Bhavan.

On issues plaguing the centres, a department official said that so far the partner NGO had been funding staff salaries, while the state government had provided the space.

"Now, this NGO does not want to continue and has withdrawn funding. In any case, we should fund it on our own and run it properly," he said, adding that the annual cost of running each centre was around Rs 50 lakh.

But Singh claimed funds weren't an issue. "Earlier, there was no clarity on the mandate of the resource centres. Now, that has been specified clearly," he said.

The centre in Delhi, he explained, was to gather intelligence on the whereabouts and work places of trafficked women and children, rescue them in tandem with local police and repatriate them in coordination with the centre in Ranchi. The centre in the state capital would need to keep tabs on complaints received about missing children and women from each district, conduct research and ensure rescued individuals were rehabilitated.

Rishi Kant, among the founders of Delhi-headquartered NGO Shakti Vahini, welcomed the state social welfare department's move to outsource the running of the centres.

"The government's decision to outsource the centres is a good one. This means, a significant section of the civil society will get involved and this will make a difference. But the selected agency should be able to provide 24/7 service," he cautioned, adding that the trafficking scenario in Jharkhand and Bihar was alarming.

"Roughly, our organisation has been rescuing 200 children of Jharkhand annually for the last few years. These children were forced to work in inhumane conditions in places like Delhi, UP and Haryana," he said.