A seven-member panel, appointed by the Supreme Court to conduct a survey of the socio-economic condition of the Vrindavan widows in Uttar Pradesh, today told the court that they are “highly vulnerable” groups, living in “pathetic” conditions.

In an eight-page report placed before a bench of Justice D K Jain, the panel said the widows are being exploited by the various NGOs there.

“Only those who go to such places unannounced and without any official clout can see and realise the pathetic conditions in which the destitute women known as Vrindavan widows live there and the way in which they are exploited,” the report said.

It said the welfare measures meant for the widows are not reaching them and it is being taken away by others.

“Ar present, the NGOs who run the homes for homeless behave like jail warden and the inmates are under the rule of their thumbs, the report said adding “it is said that some of them snatch away money from the destitute women when a lump sum amount is received by such women.”

“There are stories that some of the NGOs use the name of the destitute women for collecting the welfare funds on multiple occasions by showing such woman as resident of different Sadans,” the report added.

Taking note of the report, the bench said it is for the state government to act for improving the situation and listed the matter for August 3 for passing directions.

The apex court had on May 9 appointed the panel headed by the Mathura District Legal Services Authority chairman to conduct an enumeration of the widows living in the city.

The committee also comprised the representatives of the National Commission for woman, those from the Uttar Pradesh government, district collector, district medical officer and Mathura’s senior superintendent of police.

The court set up the panel on a plea seeking its direction to the Centre and the state government to provide shelter and other necessary facilities to the Vrindavan widows, abandoned by their families.