Despite repeated requests to the state government and even a submission by the Union ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) in Gurgaon is facing lack of infrastructure and support staff, including translators for languages spoken in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal. A number of children rescued and rehabilitated by the CWC are from these states and hence translators are required, committee members said.
In fact, the home ministry had even written to the district administration in January asking for provision of translators in Maithili, Angika, Bhojpuri and Magahi languages.
Not only this, the CWC, which handles cases of 30-40 children every month, even lacks proper furniture, technical equipment, and support in terms of IT infrastructure and manpower. There are only two members in the CWC and three more are needed. The district child protection unit too is facing shortage of seven staffers, the committee claimed.
On an average, the CWC members attend to 10-15 cases under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (Pocso Act), 2012, every month. However, the committee doesn’t have the services of a woman counsellor to interact with minor girls who may not open up to male counsellors about their plight.
Currently, the CWC of Gurgaon district is operating from the old Sales Tax building near the mini-secretariat. “We work in isolation as no one is bothered to even provide us with basic facilities,” said Shakuntala Dhull, chairperson, CWC.
The office also doesn’t have drinking water or lights in toilets and garbage is strewn around as the office is not cleaned daily.
“We carry our drinking water from home and even have to buy it for the children. They are already in a bad state of mind. We need some special care and basic facilities for them, which includes refreshments,” said Dhull.
Committee members said in summers they worked under just one fan in a room and their demand for room coolers was not met.
“We have been facing a lot of challenges since the beginning of the year. Despite so many reminders to officials, we have got no support from the government. We even have to buy our own stationery to fill up the documents,” said Dhull.
“We have to send all our documents to the court, the deputy commissioner and police officials through post, which takes time and causes delays in the proceedings. If we had internet facility we would have communicated our issues to the authority immediately without waiting for a letter to reach them by post,” she added.
There are 11 Child Care Institutions (CCI) in the city registered under the Juvenile Justice Act that are supposed to be regularly inspected by the CWC to ensure that the children are being provided proper food and care. However, according to the committee, due to lack of staff and non-availability of vehicles they are not able to conduct these inspections either.
However, Vinay Pratap Singh, additional deputy commissioner, Gurgaon, said, “I am the nodal officer for CWC and draw their budget. I will take cognizance of the matter after the report from CWC and DCPO on this issue. Currently, there is no denial or delay in permissions for amenities to the committee. Whenever there is any demand, it is promptly dealt with.”