The ASCPCR Chairperson’s visit to Upper Assam in second week of August 2017, for inspection and monitoring of various child care institutions
On August 11, 2017 morning, the team, comprising of ASCPCR Chairperson Dr. Sunita Changkakati, Dr. Pilu Hazarika (Member) , Dr. Rashmi Sarmah (State Coordinator, Bacpan Bachao Andolan), Ms. Rizwana Hazarika (DCPO) and her DCPU team with members Shyam K Upadhyay, Parismita Bhattacharya and Nirupam Chetia visited the following institutions.
Visit to an Anganwaadi in Tirap village in Ledo.
• The teacher Ms. Sita Pradhaan and cook cum caretaker Ranu Mayatan are in charge of 37 children who come from the nearby villages.
• The students very enthusiastically recited English alphabets and also numeric.
• The health check-up is done every month and registers for each child is maintained.
• Class attendance, weight chart and individual records are maintained.
• The toilet is in very poor condition. Also the compound has tall grass leaving no space for children to play.
• The black board is damaged.
Visit to Madhyamik Prathomik Vidyalaya, Kaliyari Gaon in Ledo
• Head mistress took the team around the school.
• She informed that the school has many dropouts and child labour is a big problem.
• Many existing students also stay absent on rainy days to help family collect coal from outskirts of mines when the coal pieces flow out with rain water.
• The School management Committee is very strong there and takes good care of the needs of the school.
• But a major problem is lack of permanent teachers.
• Midday meal provided every day but has less quantity of healthy vegetables.
• Students carry their own plates to school.
• The SMC is making efforts to lessen dropout rates and stop child labour by following up with as many students as possible.
Visit to Sarbajanik ME School, Kaliyari, Tirap
• The school started in 2005 but has not yet been provincialized.
• Drinking water is a major problem.
• Only four teachers. Salary given by SMC.
• Student dropout rate is low compared to the previous school. (but here also rainy days force students to be absent and go for coal picking)
• Books and mid-day meal provided to students by school.
• Teachers have seen that apart from child labour, child marriage is also a reason for school dropout rate.
Visit to Mustard Seed Village Boys Home in Lakla
• The school cum shelter home for boys was established in Lakla in 2014, by Gallus Jhonson, the Director, who stays in the United States of America and visits Six times in a year, and here a supervisor has been appointed.
• It follows the CBSE curriculum and has a capacity for 80 students.
• At present 74 students from across Northeast and also from Bihar.
• It has been registered under Society Act but not under JJ Act. The society runs under the Church Trust.
• Records if each student or resident is maintained at the office.
• Total staff nine, teachers cum caretakers (Both male and female)
• Most of the boys either orphan or with single poor parent who cannot take care of the child.
• Also differently abled children are there. Four blind students, out of which two are boys and two girls are there. The only two girls residing in the home. They have a special Brail lady teacher.
• The children are being sponsored by many American foster parents who write to them and also sometimes visit.
• The FCRA certificate has not been renewed.
• The hostels have been maintained under the rules of the JJ Act but no segregation between small and big boys.
• Premises very clean and spacious for boys to play.
• Vocational training given.
• Separate Sick room for those not well.
The Home was given a warning to immediately begin the process of registering under the JJ Act or else face consequences. The district administration was informed about it by the Commission.
Visit to Dirok Tea Estate
• The Chairperson, Member and the rest of the team visited the tea estate where a community gathering was done comprising of villagers, tea labourers and Grass root health and education workers.
• Dr. Chankakati spoke to the gathering about RTE, and other child rights. She explained POCSO and also spread awareness on powers and functioning of ASCPCR. She also discussed Corporal Punishment, Child Domestic Labour, Practice of Pornography using children and how parents and society together need to be alert about child rights and threats to freedom and safety of children. She narrated many incidents of ill effects of child marriage and child trafficking.
• Then Dr. Pilu Hazarika spoke about child marriage and child pregnancy. She stressed on Right to Education and also how child labour can be stopped.
Visit to Digboi Police Station
• This was done to meet a twelve years old Tangsa girl from Lakla village, who was raped by a Buddhist Monk.
• The chairperson took statement of the child and also met her parents and took details of the incident.
• She also met the Investigating officer.
• The accused arrested with assisted from villagers. Case registered under POCSO section 8.
• The Chairperson assured help and assistance to the family in the case.
The Chairperson further intervened in the case and spoke to the district administration and political leaders about the incident and requested them to take immediate and strict steps to punish the guilty. The accused man is in judicial custody and the child is back to school.
Visit to Girls RSTC in Hafjaan, Bordoobi
• The Chairperson and the team visited the RSTC where the staff included 8 teachers and trainers.
• This was established in 2011.
• Age group of residing girls was from 10-15 years.
• The hostel in bad shape. Very congested.
• The class rooms had leaking roofs, no chairs and tables.
• Trunks were used as furniture.
• Registers we maintained well.
• The staff complained of bad infrastructure and over working.
• Health and Hygiene suffers due to lack of funds.
• Capacity is for 100 girls, presently 58 residing.
• Vocational training along with basic education is given.
Visit to RSTC for boys in Makum
• 50 students.
• 4 Teachers and caretakers.
• Many students here sent by CWC after rescuing them as child labourers.
• Many are also school dropouts or from very poor families.
• Many students show dislike for education when brought here but in a span of two to three months begin taking interest as claimed by the teachers.
• The teachers complain of poor infrastructure and lack of funds. No furniture in classrooms.
• They are overworked and not paid well.
• Living area of children does not follow the norms applied by JJ Act well.
• The quality of food given to the children is poor.
• Toilets need to be improved.
Visit to Gayanangush Residential School for Boys, Tinsukia
• The school cum shelter home was established in 2014 by Purbottar Vikas Parishad. The process for registration under JJ Act is almost done.
• Total number of Boys is 57.
• The living area of the boys is clean but congested. Every child has a locker, clean study and play area and separate dining hall.
• Vocational training and co-curricular activities is taken care of.
• Some children here have poor parents while many are orphans, some are neglected at home due to poverty.
• Children from six districts of Assam reside there.