PALAKKAD: The district officers of Social Welfare Department say many flaws have been spotted in the way orphanages function, during their annual orphanage inspection.
As instructed by the director of the Social Welfare Department, the district officers conducted inspections in different orphanages to assess the functioning and a consolidated report has been submitted to the Orphanage Control Board (OCB).
However, only three districts Alappuzha, Pathanamthitta and Kasargod have submitted the reports so far. The remaining district officers when contacted said that they were busy consolidating the report and in due course would be submitting it.
The deadline for submitting the report was July 25 and the inordinate delay in submitting the report prevents the OCB to plan and execute measures accordingly.
The report submitted says that while examining the facilities in the orphanages in the respective districts, there are many that have the absence of basic amenities like water, electricity, living space and toilets. In these orphanages, children have been living in awfully poor and depressing conditions.
Even though, the government claims that there are stringent regulations to be followed before accommodating inter-state children in the orphanages without valid certificates, there are many residing in orphanages without the necessary certificates.
“As many as 1,477 children are residing in the 83 orphanages in Alappuzha district, of which 24 children are from other states. They are housed in different orphanages in Alappuzha district without possessing proper documents,” said an official wishing to seek anonymity.
In Pathanamthitta district, as many as 14 inter-state children have been admitted in various orphanages of which two do not have proper certificates. Kasargod district stays atop in the list of districts having the highest number of inter-state children. The report says that as many as 403 inter-state children are accommodated in various orphanages in Kasargod. Many orphanages have been closed down in various districts after they were found functioning in squalid conditions.
The report says, as many as nine orphanages were closed down in Alappuzha district owing to poor infrastructure. “These nine orphanages were lacking living facilities like water, electricity, enough rooms and the children here were living in heartrending conditions. After all, these orphanages were not registered under OBC. It was due to these reasons we had to close them down,” said an official on condition of anonymity.
In Ernakulam district, as many as five orphanages have been closed down after finding them flouting the norms.
In Wayanad district, four orphanages which were functioning without registration were also closed down. As per the circular (OCB 1/17257/12) issued by the Orphanage Control Board (OCB) dated October 26 2013, a destitution certificate from the village officer and recommendation certificate of the concerned state government are mandatory while admitting a child to any orphanage.
Not only this, but many other procedures have to be followed while admitting a child from one state to an orphanage in other state. In addition to this, the circular prescribes certain mandatory standards which the orphanages have to follow. However, these rules were seen violated in various orphanages.