The state government is coming up with stringent adoption laws, minister for child development Dr Sashi Panja said on Tuesday.
Dr Panja said that after couples apply for adoption, it will be verified by police. On getting no objection from police, the department will proceed with the application.
After adoption, the police and department officials will conduct surprise checks at the residence where the adopted child would be put up. If it is found that that the parents had kept the child somewhere else, stringent action would be taken against the parents. In case the parents change their residential address, local police station will have to be informed.
“We will intensify our vigil on nursing homes and NGOs. The system will be made more transparent and a mechanism in this regard is being worked out,” she said.
The Bengal government has warned the district child protection officers (DCPOs) of Kolkata, North 24 Parganas and South 24 Parganas districts in view of the child-trafficking racket that was busted in the state last week and asked them to step up surveillance in every state-run home.
The three DCPOs were “verbally” warned and asked to step up surveillance of special adoption agencies (SAAs) and NGOs dealing with adoption, besides the state-run homes, Sashi Panja said on Tuesday.
“The DCPOs of these three districts have been warned verbally. They have been asked to improve their performance, step up surveillance and visit these homes frequently to keep a tab on the activities there... Next time, they will be show-caused,” she added.
A high-level meeting to find out ways and means to make the adoption procedure more stringent and subsequent vigil was held in the chamber of chief secretary Basudeb Banerjee on Tuesday afternoon. The state Home secretary Malay De, secretary, women, child and social welfare department, Roshni Sen, IG CID (II) Javed Shamim and senior officials of UNICEF attended the meeting. All the districts have been instructed to intensify vigil on private nursing homes. The police station had been asked to conduct an inquiry when they receive applications for adoption sent by the social welfare department.
Meanwhile, Saumitra Mohan, District Magistrate, Burdwan along with CMOH and other senior officials of the health department sealed two nursing homes that did not keep the admission register of patients properly and had used medicines whose expiration dates were over. The District Magistrate found that there were more patients in the nursing home whose names and addresses had not been recorded in the register.
He talked to the nursing home authorities but on failing to get proper answer he sealed two nursing homes. The authorities of three nursing homes were cautioned where the environment was found to be unhygienic.
The authorities have assured the visiting team that they would follow proper norms. A senior health department official said that such surprise checks would be held regularly.
The police have so far arrested 16 persons in connection with the newborn trafficking. People have been asked to inform the administration whenever they hear some “story” about any private nursing home, maternity home or homes where orphans are kept.