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NGO got grants sans checks

chandigarh Updated: May 14, 2012 12:31 IST
Navneet Sharma
Navneet Sharma
Hindustan Times
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In what is likely to set the alarm bells ringing in the central and state governments, the Bharat Vikas Sangh (BVS), a non-government organisation (NGO) whose chief functionary is facing charges of physical abuse and torture of young girls at its shelter home, has been getting huge grants under various welfare programmes without adequate supervision.

The NGO received grants amounting to about Rs 2 crore under a dozen-odd schemes and programmes of the Centre and the Haryana government for carrying out activities for child and women welfare, environmental awareness campaign, non-formal education, vocational training, family counselling centres and running a crèche for children, a home for destitute children and a shelter home for women in the past 12 years, according to information gathered from various departments and agencies.

The shocking allegations of sexual harassment and physical torture made by inmates of a shelter home being run by the NGO have exposed the monitoring mechanism of the ministries and departments of the central and state governments, which have been releasing grants to it.

Jaswanti Narwal, who managed the affairs of the Rohtak-based NGO as its founder secretary, and her relatives have been arrested for alleged physical abuse, wrongful confinement and torture of inmates of the centre. The inmates, mostly young girls, have alleged that this had been going on for quite some time. However, the government ministries, departments and agencies, which opened their purse strings for the NGO, failed to detect anything amiss at any stage.

The NGO, established in 1994, received the bulk of the grants in the past seven years. While the Central Social Welfare Board gave more than Rs 21 lakh for running a short stay home for girls and women and setting up a family counselling centre at the Rohtak jail, the department of women and child development, government of India, provided Rs 26 lakh for the shelter home under the Swadhar Scheme and establishment of crèches.

Similarly, the social justice and empowerment, school education and sports and youth departments of the state government and the Haryana State Social Welfare Advisory Board released more than Rs 50 lakh in the past seven years for running a destitute home, implementing non-formal education programmes and conducting a community sensitisation programme on female foeticide, drug abuse and alcoholism.

"The revelations and the subsequent police case against the NGO are very serious. It is a collective failure of the funding agencies such as the government departments and agencies - and in particular the district administration - which could not detect the wrongdoings at the shelter home," a state official conceded, requesting anonymity.

To make matters worse, the functions organised by the NGO were attended by district officials and influential politicians of the present government.

Besides, Jaswanti, who belongs to Bahu Akbarpur village, kept getting awards, appreciation letters and commendation certificates from the district authorities and government departments in the state. The alleged unlawful activities were revealed when a team of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), a national-level body set up for protecting the rights of children, raided its premises following complaints.

While the NCPCR and the district police are investigating the charges against the NGO's functionaries, no steps have been taken to look into the release of funds to it and poor monitoring. Haryana is among the states which have not set up the State Commission for Protection of Child Rights despite requests from the NCPCR in this regard.