Probe poor conditions at children’s home: Panel

Lucknow, May 29 (IANS) An Uttar Pradesh government-appointed panel has recommended a judicial enquiry into the alleged financial irregularities and pathetic living conditions at a government-run shelter for abandoned children here, an official said Saturday.

The situation at the Rajkiya Bal Grih on the Prag Narain Road came to the fore Wednesday during a surprise inspection by Child Welfare Committee (CWC) members.

‘What we found could just be the tip of the iceberg. We believe there is a lot of corruption there and the officials of the shelter home will make every effort to cover-up their misdeeds. So, we have recommended a judicial enquiry in our report submitted to the chief minister (Mayawati) Friday,’ CWC member Shyam Kumar told reporters here Saturday.

‘Charges against the officials of the shelter home are serious in nature. We fear they cannot be unmasked if a departmental enquiry is initiated against them. Therefore, we have underlined the need of a judicial enquiry,’ Kumar told IANS.

‘Shocking’ and ‘pathetic’ is how an inspection team described the conditions at the government-run shelter for abandoned children in Lucknow.

‘It was surprising and shocking for us…the living conditions were pathetic,’ CWC member Kumar said Thursday, a day after a team from the committee conducted a surprise check at the shelter Wednesday.

‘The room was stinking. Around 15 students were accommodated on a single bed even as the new ones were unused. Blankets, sports goods, brand new dresses for children and other things donated by people were also lying unused.

‘Moreover, the register having details of donations made to the shelter home was also missing,’ said Kumar, who was part of the inspection team.

According to CWC officials, appliances like a refrigerator, television and DVD player meant for the children were either missing or being used by the staff.