KARNATAKA

Zilla panchayat president seeks closure of home run by NGO

Staff Correspondent

The samsthe is siphoning Government grant, says Rathod

Officials pay surprise visit to old age home-cum-schoolThe elderly and mentally challenged had no basic amenities

BIJAPUR: According to records of Sharanajyothi Vidya Samsthe, a non-governmental organisation (NGO), there are 25 inmates in its old-age home and 50 in its special school for mentally challenged children.

The NGO regularly gets Government grant for the institute. However, in reality, only three senior citizens and two mentally retarded children are housed there.

This came to light on Thursday when zilla panchayat president Arjun Rathod paid a surprise visit to the old-age home-cum-school for mentally challenged children located in Akki Colony here.

Ghanashyam Bhandage, vice-president of Karnataka Physically Disabled Federation, V.N. Meti, assistant director, Department of Women and Child Welfare, and a few other officers also accompanied Mr. Rathod.

Initially, the staff tried to mislead the visitors about the actual number of inmates.

However, senior citizens Eshwarappa, Tukkappa and Balavva said they were the only inmates besides two mentally challenged children. When questioned, the staff admitted that it was true.

Violation of norms

As per the norms, there must be separate quarters one for senior citizens and another for the mentally challenged children. But both have been housed in a single building without even basic amenities. The soiled dresses of the two children proved that they were not given regular bath.

"Though ours is a condemned life, we are staying here as we do not have alternatives," said Mr. Eshwarappa.

Mr. Rathod later wrote a letter to Deputy Commissioner Mohammad Mohsin seeking alternative arrangements for the five inmates and closure of the home.

He also sought filing of criminal complaints against the members of the managing body of the non-governmental organisation for siphoning Government grant with false records.

Threat of agitation

Later, Mr. Bhandage told presspersons that there were many such non-governmental organisations in the district, who were looting public money in the name of social service.

The administration should take suitable action against such NGOs within a fortnight failing which an agitation would be launched, he said.