Hyderabad: Institutions taking care of orphans and the destitute are mushrooming in the city and its outskirts, but many of them are running without valid licences from the Woman and Child Welfare department. As a result, they are seen to be exploiting the kids in the home, making them do odd jobs and some institutions are even forcing them into begging and into child labour, officials say.
The AGAPE home in Uppal, whose organisers were recently arrested after it forced some HIV-affected children to clean manholes, functioned without licence. Many such incidents go unreported as there’s no proper departmental monitoring. Regular checks and a strict vigil from the department and other partnering agencies like the police department can check the recurrence of such situations.
Official say the homes that are running illegally come into picture rarely. This happens only when an incident is reported from that home or there’s a complaint from residents or from some NGO. In the case of AGAPE home, a citizen noticed the kids cleaning manholes and alerted the police.
“Police does not have a direct control on these homes and institutions. We are not informed when a permission is issued or when an application goes to the concerned department,” a senior police official said. Unless there’s a request from the Woman and Child Welfare department, police cannot enter the premises. If complaints come, police can. “All departments like woman and child welfare, Childline, police and revenue should work together to act against illegal homes.” they said.
Meanwhile, officials from the Women and Child Welfare department say that they do not have a separate mechanism to check illegal running of homes. “We conduct regular checks on homes that have licences, but illegally run homes come to our notice only when there is a complaint from someone. If we find any such homes, we issue three notices asking them to regularise their operations. If they fail to do this, it would be sealed,” they said. They say, to curb this menace, a dedicated taskforce should be set up with a combination of all related departments.