Based on the report of the Council's administrative officer, two other caregivers also on duty on Thursday, will face disciplinary action

The services of a caregiver at the Kerala State Child Welfare Council were terminated and disciplinary action was ordered against two others following the incident on Thursday when a 15-month- old infant, Ananya, accidentally fell into a bucket of water and drowned.

Arunima, the caregiver who had been in charge of Ananya as well as seven other infants in the same room on Thursday and who was an employee on daily wages, was terminated from service. Based on the report of the Council's administrative officer, two other caregivers on duty yesterday, Archana and Ambika, will face disciplinary action.

The council staff said they had altered the working pattern in the Council's nursery in such a way that instead of one caregiver to look after eight infants, two persons would henceforth take care of 11 children so that at least one person would keep an eye on the children if the other had to move away.

The body of Ananya was received by the council authorities after post-mortem examination on Friday. The funeral was held at ‘Shanti kavadam' at Thycaud.

Suo motu case

The State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) has taken a suo motu case over the death of Ananya. J.B. Koshy, SHRC chairperson, has directed the District Collector, State Police Chief and the Director of Social Welfare Department to submit their reports on the incident before April 16 and to file a police case against whoever was found to be criminally negligent.

District Collector K.N. Satheesh, who took over the administration of the council on Thursday, said the administrative stalemate at the council since the past three months was being resolved and all files were being moved quickly to set day-to-day affairs in motion.

The council staff had not been paid salary for the last three months. The Collector signed the salary bills and sent it to the Treasury.“The Council was to receive a grant-in-aid of Rs.3 crore. from the government. The file was submitted to the government on Friday or else the money entitlement would have lapsed,” he said.

On Friday, with the District Collector taking charge, the padlocks on all rooms at the Council were broken open ad the rooms were let open for use.

The council staff said the standoff between the newly inducted council members and the current council members had brought all activities, including the adoption processes, to a standstill and that this had resulted in a lot of pending work.

Welfare panel

The district Child Welfare Committee, which met here on Friday, has recommended that the council immediately take necessary measures to resolve shortage of caregivers and ensure a more manageable proportion between infants and caregivers, so that the infants are given the best care possible.

The committee has also pointed out that as a government home taking care of very young children round the clock, the Council should be given a vehicle or ambulance facility on a full-time basis so as to avoid any delay in handling medical emergencies.

The committee also recommended that a comprehensive plan be evolved by the government to ensure that all children's care-home run by the government have the necessary facilities to give proper care and a safe and secure environment to children.