New Delhi, June 25 : Mathura's child welfare system is marred by poor sanitation and living standards, dilapidated buildings, ineffective staff and irregular adoptions, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) says.
The situation came to light Friday when a five-member NCPCR team inspected a juvenile observation home, an orphanage and a beggar's home - all run by the Uttar Pradesh government - in the Hindu holy town.
At the State Observation Home, which had 35 inmates, the team found only three small rooms with cots and threadbare mattresses, a water tap for drinking and washing, open drains and no bathrooms. The team even found the young inmates had to cook, wash clothes and clean the place all by themselves.
"Under the Juvenile Justice Act, no child living in a state-run home has to do such menial chores. The condition here is utterly dehumanising," said NCPCR member Yogesh Dube.
NCPCR has recommended that a case be registered against the home's caretaker O.P. Yadav for alleged neglect and ill-treatment of the children. The home was in the news in February after eight inmates, who were allegedly beaten up by the staff, escaped.
"There is an urgent need to understand the psychology of the children behind the incident, instead of calling them unruly and undisciplined," Dube said.
The team then visited Rajkiya Shishu Griha, a home for children under 10, and found glaring discrepancies in the adoption process.
Members of Mathura district's child welfare committee were also found involved in a feud, Dube said.
After the inspection, the team also asked the chief medical officer to probe the reason behind amputating the hand of a mentally-challenged girl who lived in the children's home. Then, at the home for child beggars, the team found that it did not have a single inmate since 2010.
The rooms of the dilapidated building were being used as stores and the home had staffers who had no work, Dube said.
He urged the superintendent of police to form a task force to eradicate begging and bring child beggars to the beggars' home for rehabilitation.