Pandemic orphaned 530 children in Belagavi district

The epidemic has orphaned 530 children in Belagavi district. A preliminary survey of families affected by COVID-19 has revealed that 530 children have lost at least one parent in the first or the second wave of the epidemic.

As many as 17 of them are children of single parents, with one parent having dead before the epidemic. A total of 511 have lost their single parent to the virus. The final report of the survey is expected on Saturday. It may be submitted to the State government by Monday next, an officer said.

Officers maintain that none of the children has been shifted to government child care homes or hostels.

COVID-19 standard opearating procedure does not allow officers to reveal the identity of these children.

Two siblings from a village in Khanapur taluk who have lost their father are living with their uncle. Their mother died in 2018, after a brief illness. Their father did not re-marry. The eldest daughter is in the seventh standard and her younger brother is in the fourth standard.

“We are taking care of them,” said their uncle. “I have two children of my own. Now, I will think that God has given me four children,” he said.

He entertains no thought of sending his nephew and niece to a government hostel or child care home. He is open to accepting the benefits extended by the Department of Women and Child Welfare for the children.

Another family in Bailhongal is taking care of one child that lost his mother to COVID-19. The child’s father died in a road accident two years ago. The boy who lives with his aunt is aged around eight. “He misses his mother, though he does not remember much about his father,’’ said his aunt.

She said that since the death of the child’s father, his sister is living in Bailhongal. “We will help the child continue his studies,” she said.

District Child Protection Officer Ravindra Rathnakar said that the government will provide all benefits to the family. “Our offer of taking care of the children in a government care home, hostel or residential school will always be open,’’ he said.

Minister for Women and Child Empowerment Shashikala Jolle has declared that the State will take care of the children orphaned or otherwise affected by COVID-19.

Officers said that there are two schemes for such children. The State government will provide cash incentive of ₹1,000 per month for three years per child. Under a Union government scheme, such children will get ₹1 lakh when they attain 18 years of age.

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Printable version | Aug 3, 2021 8:33:45 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/pandemic-orphaned-530-children-in-belagavi-district/article34913048.ece

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