Bureau will rectify lack of coordination among police station: CWC Chairperson Asha Nayak

From December 1, Dakshina Kannada will be part of a vast network that will monitor and track missing children. Currently, Dakshina Kannada remains the only district without a Missing Child Bureau (MCB), which would act as a nodal agency in tracking down children who have been reported missing.

The MCB, to be run by a local NGO, will upload the FIR (with an attached photo) of the missing child on the National Tracking System for Missing and Vulnerable Children (www.trackthemissingchild.gov.in). If a child is missing in the district, the information would be shared with other MCBs that can check if the information matches with that of children found in railway or bus stations or in their child care institutions.

Bilu Varghese, a co-ordinator with BOSCO, which is the nodal agency for the project in the State, said the process of selection of an NGO in the district was at the final stages. “We have talked to the NGOs and officials of the district. The announcement will be made on December 1, which will also mark the formal opening of the bureau,” he said.

Chosen last

While the process of implementation had started in other districts from April, sources said the Department of Women and Child Development officials vetted the list of NGOs for the bureau only in October.

When asked for the reason for delay, an official of the Integrated Child Protection Services (ICPS) here said: “Maybe, because we are not a high-risk district. The backward districts were targeted first for the project, and Udupi and Dakshina Kannada were left till the end,” she said.

The importance of such a bureau was highlighted by a 2012 report by Yogesh Dube, member, National Commission for Protection of Child Rights, who had recommended that “[a] proper tracking system shall be developed to track missing children and specially missing from children institutions.”

Citing an example of orphanage authorities who were shuttled repeatedly between two police stations, which debated the jurisdiction where the child went missing, CWC Chairperson Asha Nayak said the MCB would rectify the lack of coordination within the police department. “Tracking down a missing child is a lot of work and a lot of personnel hours are needed, which the police do not do.

“Currently, the CWC or the police or NGOs do not have the networking capabilities of the MCB to track down children between districts or states,” she said.

Moreover, she believed the bureau can, effectively, implement the statutory rules of displaying the pictures of missing children in mainstream newspapers and television channel – something that is not being done now.