Arrangements can be made to provide food and education to them: Nina

Deputy Commissioner N.S. Channappa Gowda has directed officials of the departments of Women and Child Development and Labour to survey construction sites and high-rise buildings for children in the 0-6 age group.

Mr. Gowda instructed officials to survey the construction sites after Chairperson of the Karnataka State Commission for the Protection of Child Rights Nina Nayak raised the issue during a meeting on the protection of child rights here on Tuesday. He said even the construction sites of Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Limited, Mangalore Special Economic Zone Limited should also be surveyed.

Expressing concern that children were being deprived of nutritious food and the opportunity to go to school when they accompanied their migrant parents, Ms. Nayak said that it was necessary to map construction sites across the district so that arrangements could be made for nutritious food to be delivered to the work site or organise tent schools for children who needed them.

Malnutrition

Ms. Nayak also asked for improvement in the health of the 850 children in the district who had been classified as severely malnourished. District Health Officer O.R. Shrirangappa said that 795 children had been medically examined according to the directions of the State government, and 637 children were being given special diets to improve their weight. He said that 28 children had extreme low weight for reasons not related to nutrition. In a month's time, the weight of the children was expected to improve.

Ms. Nayak also said that she would send the district health department a software through which each child's weight could be monitored on a daily basis.

“Sale of babies”

When Ms. Nayak asked Mr. Gowda what the district administration was doing to tackle the “sale of children”, Mr. Gowda denied that such instances had occurred in the district. When Ms. Nayak said the highest number of complaints about the “sale of babies” came from Udupi and Dakshina Kannada district, Mr. Gowda said that it was improbable that Dakshina Kannada could be included in the category. Finally, when members of the Child Welfare Committee expressed agreement with Ms. Nayak's account of how the transaction happens, Mr. Gowda said that if such cases came to light, action would be taken. Mr. Gowda suggested that the use of mobile scanners be banned to improve the child sex ratio in the district.

Earlier, Ms. Nayak met with NGOs, which raised concerns about the implementation of 25 per cent reservation in seats in private and aided schools under the Right to Education Act. Ms. Nayak later raised the issue with the DC, who said that the education department must ensure that private schools comply with the government directive that no admissions must be done before May 31.

Suresh of Shikshana Sampanmoola Kendra said that calls could not be made to the Childline (1098) from mobile phones or non-BSNL landlines.

Director of Valored Renni D'Souza said that an institution in Gurupura had been given the status of “fit institution” without proper inspection.

He also said that even when rescued child labourers look well below the age of 14 years, the age certificate always showed that the child was between the age of 14 and 15.

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