Balasore, November 16 (LocalWire): Children are either missing from or not aware that they have been nominated as members of various child rights and protection committees at the gram panchayat (GP) and school level in the district.
According to a recent survey, neither the GP- or ward-level protection committees set up under the district protection officer nor School Management Committees (SMC) have been following the guidelines that make it mandatory for any such group to include at least two children as members.
The survey was conducted by Odisha Alliance for Child Rights (OACR) and Odisha State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (OSCPCR) at three randomly selected GPs in rural areas and three wards in urban areas.
As per the guidelines for the protection of children, the GP- and ward-level committees should include Sarpanch, ICDS supervisor, ANM, Anganwadi worker, at least two children, one member from civil society, and one eminent person of the locality.
Similarly, the guideline mandates that the SMC should have two students as members of the committee.
However, the survey revealed that although the committees were listed on paper in the records of the district child protection office in most of the cases, neither the sarpanch nor any other members were aware of it.
Besides, the committees, including those at the schools, either do not have the representation of children or their names have been used without informing them.
Sharing details of the survey OACR district coordinator Ubachak Mohanty said that the survey was conducted in three GPs under Remuna block and an equal number of wards in Balasore municipality.
“The survey has revealed that the guideline is hardly being followed. Either children names are missing in the committees or if they are in the committee they are not aware that they are members of the committee and they have a stake and say over their matter,” he said.
He further informed that the survey reveals that most of the Anganwadi Centres do not have proper and adequate environment.
“In rural area (Remuna) survey, only seven out of 16 Anganwadi Centres were found to have their own building, while in Balasore municipality only three out of 13 centres have their own building,” Mohanty said, adding that most of these centres even lack basic amenities such as toilets.
The report was released on Friday at a district-level interface workshop on children’s right, which was attended by the members of childcare institutions (CCI), Childlines, Sarpanchs, and Anganwadi workers.
It was also attended by district welfare officer Kusum Mala Mishra, district child protection officer Jubak Majhi, District Child Welfare Committee chairman Bhagirathi Barik and CWC members Asish Ghosh and Padmalochan Dutta.