Tribal Children in large number in KISS Tribal School, Bhubaneswar, Odisha are under-nourished and anaemic- Says CWC Report
· KISS Tribal School is not registered by Tribal Welfare Deptt. Of Govt. of Odisha till yet.
· Guidelines for ensuring a child safe environment in institutions where children are housed and /or study issued by the Deptt. Of Women and child Development, Govt. of Odisha vide Notification No. 13626 dated 23.8.2014 is not followed.
· The living rooms are found untidy, stinky and unhygienic as these are over-crowded.
· No sufficient toilet available for huge number of children living in the hostel
· No grievance redressal mechanism in the hostel. No complaint Box. Hence the grievances of the children are found not heard.
· Authority of KISS does not care to appear before CWC in case of alleged child missing.
Sri Achyut Samant, founder of KIIT /KISS, Patia, Bhubaneswar takes a lot of credit for providing free education including accommodation, food and clothing to the children of his tribal school. Many intellectuals, academician and Social activists, leaders of ruling political parties highly praise the effort of Achyut Samant terming it as marvellous and outstanding for providing free education to 25000 tribal children. During visit of dignitaries of national and international organisations, Central Ministers, these tribal children were used to welcome the guests and earn reputation for Samant. KISS Authority has also succeeded in mobilising huge fund by using Tribal School as showcase for expansion of his education business. Sri Samant has also tried to gain Guinness World Book Record by using the tribal children for longest human chain in Bhubaneswar on occasion of observation of International Human Rights Day. Sri Samant has successfully marketed children to gain popular support of tribal MLAs and MPs in Odisha and expanded his business of opening tribal schools in other districts by acquiring huge land showing KISS Tribal school a model school in Odisha. It deserves to be mentioned here that No Media or any outsiders are allowed visit inside the school. Nobody knows what is happening in the school.
But recent Enquiry Report of Child Welfare Committee, Khurda , a statutory body under Juvenile Justice Act has exposed disastrous condition of tribal children of the KISS Tribal school. On complaint filed by Dr. Subas Mohapatra, on 19.6.2017, CWC Team conducted enquiry visiting KISS Tribal school and noticed deplorable condition of tribal children. The report produced by them on 6.7.2017 is as follows.
1. It is astonishing that KISS Tribal School is not recognised by Tribal Welfare Deptt. Of Govt. of Odisha till yet.
2. The Institute only accommodates poor tribal children. Academic proficiency is not a criterion for selection.
3. The children are living as internees of the school hostel.
4. No Govt. authority other than education Dept. Inspects the activities of KISS.
5. There are no sufficient toilet available for huge number of children living in the hostel. Hence children are suffering.
6. The living space of the children are too congested for the children to live comfortably. Hence the Hostel rooms are found over-crowded. Rooms are not cross-ventilated. Some single beds are shared by two children.
7. The living rooms are found untidy, stinky and unhygienic as these are over-crowded.
8. Children are not given freedom to play even to watch the games except a few selected children who participate in outside games.
9. Small size sanitary napkins are provided to the adolescent girls as a result the older girls feel uncomfortable.
10. Staffing pattern is too less to manage such a huge crowd of children. For 400 children, there are only 2 supervisory staff. On the other hand the staff are not found to be trained on child rights and child protection.
11. There is no grievance redressal mechanism in the hostel. No complaint Box. Hence the grievances of the children are found not heard properly.
12. Since there are may children especially adolescents are living together, they have to have many issues which need to be addressed by the case worker/ counsellor. But the institution has not appointed any such staff.
13. Though the management explained that the children’s health check up is conducted prior to admission and there is a separate hospital for the children. But in practice there is no sick room adjoined to the hostels to accommodate the sick children.
14. Children eat “chuda” and sugar everyday at 7 am. After that they take a meal and go to the school. They come back from school at 4 pm. They eat rice & curry at night. No menu chart followed. Repetition of food menu and monotonous diet is given to the children. Huge gap between two meals is observed. Due to insufficient nutrition , the children are found undernourished and anaemic.
15. There are several instances of children running away from the institution due to poor grievance redressal mechanism . Many times the run away children are produced before WC and the committee has noticed that no FIR is lodged by the authority. Though the Child Welfare Committee has issued notice to the KISS authority to appear and explain about the reasons of runaway and non-reporting about the fact to the police. But the authority of KISS never cares to appear.
Recommendation of CWC , Khurda
1. KISS should get recognition from the Deptt. Of Tribal Welfare. So that the Govt. people can inspect the institution and give proper advice to improve standard of care. A set of guideline may be issued to the institution to maintain standard of care of the children and to address grievance redressal mechanism of the children
2. Since the institution has accommodated some children in need of care and protection, it needs to be recognised by the Deptt. Of W&CD under Juvenile Justice Act (JJ Act). This would help the government officials of JJ System to verify standard of care.
3. Within the existing infrastructure, it is not correct to accommodate such a huge number of children. Hence either number of children should be reduced or necessary infrastructure should be developed to meet the needs of the children.
4. As huge number of tribal children is residing at one place, it is the duty of the District Administration / State Govt. to issue certain guidelines to the institute to adhere proper standard of care for the children.
5. The guidelines for ensuring a child safe environment in institutions where children are housed and /or study issued by the Deptt. Of Women and child Development, Govt. of Odisha vide Notification No. 13626 dated 23.8.2014 is to be mandatorily followed by the institution and be monitored by the District administration.
6. The inmates should be provided with necessary toilet and bathroom services immediately for comfortable living of the children as it is their right.
7. The DCPO/CWC/Tribal Welfare officer/ District administrative officer should enquire into the matter thoroughly and prepare a detailed report.