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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

When Budget For A CommonWealth Is Important Than The Life Of A Child

The planned budget for the Commonwealth Games was a whopping $1.6 billion, which went up by at least 06-10%. The scams that came to light recently revealed how much of that money went into the pockets of the senior management responsible for planning the games in New Delhi.

India is a rich country, with lots of moolah to spare, lots of moolah to pocket…

But when it comes to the real causes, the ones that really need some money and help, how much is being done really?

The first news that hit me in yesterday’s Mumbai daily was the story about the death of five children in the state-run orphanage at Shahpur, Satkarm Balgriha, about 70kms from Mumbai, which is used as a shelter for mentally-challenged kids. And that was not all. The picture that accompanied the story was even more heart-wrenching – that of a severely under-nourished boy of five, whose arms had turned as thin as sticks, clutching desperately at a pack of biscuits that the reporter from the newspaper had offered him. The reporters were shocked to find that all the children in the orphanage were severely starved and had not had a proper meal in days. Many of them were suffering from skin and other infections and had been locked together in a room where they ate, slept and defecated.

The children jumped on the few packets of biscuits that the reporters had to offer them, lunging at the food in a desperate measure to curb the hunger. But the Administrator had a different story ready ‘they were fed eggs in breakfast and mutton for lunch” he had the nerve to straight talk of eggs and mutton!!!

When asked why the children who had died of infection and starvation had not been taken to a hospital for treatment, Administrator of the orphanage, Jitendra Chavan, claimed they had not received any funds from the government in the past couple of months, nor was there any help from any NGO or other source. They also stated that the cost of maintaining the orphanage and looking after so many sick children was very high. “The ambulance charges Rs.3000/- per trip to Thane or Mumbai and we don’t have that much fund. So we lock them up in a room to remove them from the other kids” is what explanation they had.

Currently the orphanage has 18 inmates, out of which 05 are in immediate danger of death due to starvation. These are 08-year-old Gopal, 08-year-old Ameya, 09-year-old Sunny, 12-year-old Deepika and 05-year-old Hitesh (in the picture). The little ones who died without given a chance of a rescue were 14-year-old Sameer, 15-year-old Pawan, 12-year-old Divya, Deepak whose age was unknown and Ramu, whose age is unknown but what is known is that in addition to being mentally challenged he was deaf and mute.

Today’s paper reported that after yesterday’s story on the sad state of the shelter, the Child Welfare Committee has ‘rescued’ these kids from the orphanage, only to send them to any orphanage in the city that will accept them.

The fate of these kids is unknown. Like the reporter very rightly mentioned, by tomorrow, we will all have moved on to some other ‘new’ story, but what will remain unchanged is the fact that the government today has not only turned deaf and mute, unable to see what wrongs are being committed and unable to stop what injustice is meted out, it has also turned into a useless piece of liability – a government that is repeatedly elected by the biggest democracy in the world, only to make a fool of its citizens each time.