KENDRAPARA: Reeling under extreme financial crisis brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, a woman allegedly sold her 10-month-old baby for Rs 5,000 in Kendrapara district on Sunday.The infant girl was rescued by district child protection office and police on Monday and kept in custody of a child care centre.
The 34-year-old mother, identified as Arundhati Roul of Mahuri within Rajkanika police limits, reportedly sold her baby girl to a childless couple of nearby village as she was unable to sustain her family in absence of work.
A mother of three daughters, Arundhati used to work as a domestic help in houses of several villagers to eke out a living. However, when the deadly second COVID wave swept through the district, her employers asked her to discontinue her service.
She apparently tried other means of livelihood but failed. Her financial condition had deteriorated to such an extent that she was unable to arrange two square meals for her daughters. "In order to fight poverty, she was forced to sell her infant," Sarpanch of Mahuri gram panchayat Mamata Manjari Mallick said.
Arundhati had married one Samir Roul around 11 years back. However, her husband deserted her last year following which she came back to her parents' house at Mahuri with her daughters.
After the news of the sale of baby spread, some villagers informed the local administration about the incident. The district child protection office and police swung into action and rescued the infant on Monday. The baby girl has been shifted to the government-run child care institute (CCI) at Kora village.
District child protection officer (DCPO) Pravas Chandra Das said, "Besides the baby, we have also rehabilitated the other two minor daughters of Arundhati at the CCI so that proper care can be taken of them."