Operation Smile, the police drive launched to trace missing kids, reunited 250 children with their families in the last one month, the Bhopal police said on Friday.
Twenty-four police teams traced as many as 257 children - many of them were either found working at roadside eateries or engaged in begging and odd jobs, Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) D Sreenivas Varma told a press conference here.
Seven children were yet to be handed over to their kin, he said, adding 28 children were from Bhopal district alone.
Many of these children had left their homes over trivial issues like scolding from parents, the DIG said. Missing cases were registered by many of the parents of these children.
Besides minors from the state, the police also rescued some children from West Bengal, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh. "Their families were contacted after which they were reunited with their loved ones," Verma said.
Apart from the usual dhabas (road-side eateries), the children were also found at bus stands, railway platforms and other public places.
"Some of them were runaway while others were working at dhabas with the consent of their parents. But our job entails that no kid should be exploited or fall in the wrong hands. Hence, we also covered all the minors," a police officer associated with the drive said.