BANGALORE: The recent cases of officials of Department of Women and Child Development (DWCD) caught in wrongful acts is not only making women worry for their safety but also raising questions about the functioning of the department.
The Yelahanka police arrested Deputy Director of DWCD Radhakrishna from Tumkur over an alleged rape case against him. This incident came to light days after the tragic death of three-month-old Afreen owing to the torture by her father.
In March, after a Lokayukta raid, graft charges were booked against three top department officials - former director Shamla Iqbal, Deputy Director Usha Patwari and Assistant Director Muniraju - for their alleged role in misusing funds meant for the Integrated Child Development Scheme.
Also, the appointment of the new director M E Shivalinga Murthy stirred a hornet’s nest as his name was mentioned in the Lokayukta mining report. The report accused Murthy, then director of mining and geology department, of approving mineral dispatch permits to Associated Mining Company, which was illegally taken over by former minister G Janardhana Reddy.
These events are making people worry over the implementation of the schemes under the purview of the department.
Niranjan Aradhya, a member of Karnataka State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (KSCPCR) said, “Such incidents will directly affect the schemes and its timely implementation, in addition to denting public confidence. Being a nodal agency for the implementation of several schemes, the department should take stringent action against errant officials.”
Bangalore president of University Women’s Association Geeta Jaisam said the department’s tasks should be divided to ensure better administration.
“Cases of corruption and inefficient officials should not affect the functioning of the department. Although it might delay the release of financial grants, it will not be stopped,” she added.
DWCD was established in 1994 prior to which it was a part of its Social Welfare department.
When Express contacted Murthy, he expressed his displeasure over the recent incidents. However, he denied his role in the mining scam and said everything was functioning as per rules. On the signing of an MoU with Vedanta mining company, to adopt and support 2,635 Anganwadi centres across the state, he said there was no malafide intent behind the transaction and everything was in consultation with the government. “They never mined in Karnataka and there is no link with mining activity and the upkeep of Anganwadis. This is purely for development purpose,” he added.