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Notice to social welfare dept.

THE Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights ( DCPCR) has issued a notice to the department of social welfare for not submitting a report on the death of 13 inmates at the Asha Kiran complex in December.

" We have advised ( the department) to ask all observation homes to submit detailed reports on their condition from time to time," DCPCR chairperson Amod Kanth said.

Stating that the social welfare department was aware of staff shortage at homes, Kanth said the issue arose because the social welfare department had failed to implement the remedial measures suggested.

The DCPCR continually inspects these homes. The last inspection in June revealed a horrific picture. The inspection report -- also submitted before the Delhi High Court -- said 75 inmates had died between 2004 and 2008.

" We have been informing the department of social welfare about the problems. But no action has been taken on our reports. There are clear- cut guidelines under the Juvenile Justice Act that should be followed with mentally challenged children," Kanth said.

The panel had said the conditions at Asha Kiran were " pathetic, inhuman and unhygienic". The team sought an urgent, in- depth investigation into the running of the observation homes but nothing has been done to improve the conditions.

The commission found that 31 deaths were registered in the girls' wing during 2004- 2008.

The male wing registered 44 deaths. There were 14 deaths in 2008 alone.

But the conditions have not still improved.

As per the Juvenile Justice Act, special homes to which a juvenile is sent are supposed to provide accommodation, maintenance and facilities for education, vocational training and rehabilitation. There should also be facilities for development of character and abilities.

The inspection team had found that children were suffering from tuberculosis, seizures and skin diseases, among other conditions.

This was because of overcrowding, lack of hygiene and pathetic sanitary conditions.

The report said children suffering from communicable diseases such as tuberculosis were not kept in isolation rooms.

The Asha Kiran complex is made up of six institutions.

These include the Home for Mentally Retarded Children, Home for Mentally Retarded Adults, School and Home for Mentally Retarded Children, School and Home for Mentally Retarded Adults, Institution for Severe and Profoundly Mentally Retarded Children and Institution for Severe and Profoundly Mentally Retarded Adults.

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Publication:Mail Today (New Delhi, India)
Date:Jan 5, 2010
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