Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said here on Wednesday that the government would consider the demand that orphanages and children’s homes in the State should be brought under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act.

The Chief Minister was responding to questions from the media at his weekly Cabinet briefing on the investigation into alleged fraud by orphanages in bringing children from Jharkand and other States.

Kerala State Commission for Protection of Child Rights had proposed framing of rules under the Act to ensure transparency in the functioning of the institutions.

The Chief Minister said that transparent and clear proceedings and compliance with rules were required when children are admitted to orphanages. He was not commenting on whether the case of 466 children brought to Palakkad and Kozhikode amounted to trafficking in children as the investigations are on. There were procedural irregularities and the authorities were examining whether there was something beyond that. The Muslim League had not opposed the investigations though it had expressed its views.

Mr. Chandy said that Jharkhand authorities were yet to make official contact with the authorities here and hence they had no official information about fraud reportedly alleged by Jharkhand officials. Wider investigation into running of orphanages in the State would be undertaken if found necessary.

KSRTC revamp:

The Chief Minister said that the Cabinet was considering a total revamp of the State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC). He would be holding a conference with Finance Minister, Transport Minister and officials in this regard on Monday. The KSRTC was now surviving on monthly grants from government to pay salaries. Such a situation could not be allowed to continue.

The government recognised the social relevance of State-owned transport system. However, it efficiency needed to be improved and the workers should cooperate for that. The government was not proposing any cut in salaries and pensions or retrenchments. However, efficiency and revenues needed to be improved and expenditure should be reduced. The Transport Minister would hold discussions with the workers’ unions in this regard.