CUTTACK: Even as the district administration has taken upon itself the responsibility of rehabilitating destitute children living at Cuttack railway station, shocking revelations about the juveniles being used for disposal of dead bodies has forced the authorities to initiate immediate action.
The Child Welfare Committee (CWC) has instituted an enquiry after several rescued children stated that they were engaged in disposal and cremation of unidentified bodies found on the railway tracks in and around Cuttack.
Undertaking a special drive, the District Child Protection Unit rescued around 14 children including two girls and admitted them to de-addiction centres and shelter homes for weaning them off their addiction to adhesives and whiteners before starting their mainstreaming. During interaction, at least five minors alleged that they were asked to carry the bodies off the railway tracks or in its vicinity and were even entrusted with the job of cremating them.
“This is shocking. Boys as young as 10 years are allegedly being used to remove corpses from railway tracks. They are also being used to cremate unclaimed bodies. The children are compelled to do so due to fear of being evicted from the railway station, which has become their home. We have come to know that these minors were taken as far as Bhadrak, Jajpur and Paradip to do the job,” chairman of CWC, Cuttack Bikash Mohapatra said. While a committee will be constituted to probe the matter, it has been revealed that the children were paid `600 to `700 per disposal. The matter will be taken up with Railway and Government Railway Police (GRP) authorities, Mohapatra said.
During the drive to rehabilitate children from railway station, initiated by Collector Girish SN, the District Child Protection Unit identified 19 children living at Cuttack railway station permanently. All of them were found to be addicted to ‘Dendrite’ adhesive. They were involved in begging, sweeping coaches and other menial jobs to sustain themselves even as the latest revelation has come as a shocker for the administration.
Having taken the children under its fold, the administration has announced all steps for their de-addiction after which they will be rehabilitated through vocational training and facilitation of employment. Those who want to study will be admitted to residential schools in the district, the Collector said.