Bhubaneswar, July 12 (LocalWire): The state government has decided to bring the government-run residential schools for tribal and scheduled caste girls under CCTV surveillance to ensure their safety.
The minister of state for scheduled caste and schedule tribe development, minorities and backward classes, Jagannath Saraka, replying to the Opposition’s query on the alleged pregnancy of a tribal girl in a state-run hostel told the Assembly that security is being strengthened in hostels for the inmates.
Four girls of a hostel here that is run by the ST and SC development department were found to be pregnant after a health check up of under Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram programme.
However, one of them tested positive after undergoing pregnancy tests after her return from summer vacation, the minister told the members.
The residential schools are being brought under CCTV scanner in a phased manner. Some of these hostels are already under CCTV vigil.
The welfare departments in all the 30 districts have been directed to ensure strict enforcement of safety and security measures in residential schools and girls’ hostels.
The departmental officers have been asked to act vigilantly and proactively so that the safety of the girls is not jeopardized, said a senior official.
In these residential schools, children are provided free food and hostel facilities.
Classroom teaching is also free as per the right to compulsory education Act. Odisha government bears the entire cost of running these residential schools, the official added.
Child rights activists were also happy with the move to install CCTV in schools and girls’ hostels.
But the living conditions in these hostels are inhospitable and the quality of food served is also sub-standard.
Cases of sexual exploitation of girls in residential school hostels have also come to the fore from across the state.
The state government had earlier issued directives to ensure strict implementation of guidelines and standard operating procedures (SOPs).
Guidelines and SOP on safety and security of boarders, safe cooking and serving, food menu chart along with code of conduct and duties of each staff were circulated to school authorities.
But its implementation seems to have remained on paper only, said rights activist, Biswapriya Kanungo.