Overworked cops say it should have devoted staff with expertise
What may come as a help to the abused,addicted and abandoned children of the state,the Gujarat government under its “Nirogi Balvarsha Yojana” has decided to set up child protection cells in women police stations across the state. However,the overworked personnel at women police stations are apprehensive about the initiative.
The child protection cells will be put up in four cities Ahmedabad,Vadodara,Rajkot and Surat and in towns like Anand,Bhavnagar,Gondal and Junagadh. The cell at Ahmedabad is ready to start shortly.
Meera Ramnivas,the Director General of Police (Crime) and in-charge of the initiative,says,”This is a unique initiative for children. It will help poor children get refuge for two days where they will be given counselling. Later,they will be sent to children’s homes.”
Lack of support from NGOs will eventually lead to an additional burden on police staff,said sources at Rajkot (Gondal) women police station.
Sushila Patel,a woman police sub-inspector,says,”The cell will need devoted attention and staff to counsel kids. The NGOs and the orphanage are not supporting this. We are not getting good response. And we know,at the end we will be asked to leave our jobs aside and counsel these children.”
The police personnel at smaller cities like Bhavnagar and Junagadh object to the scheme because of the lack of expertise available in these towns. Rasila Jadhav,a police personnel from Bhavnagar asks,”Given the kind of the infrastructure that we have,how can we handle the kids?”
“The kids with addiction and the ones abused will need serious counselling. And in small cities like ours,there are hardly any good NGOs or psychologists around. When we cannot cope with our day-to-day situations,handling such special cells is out of question.”
The staff at police stations of Surat and Vadodara is also unhappy with the decision as the places where they work don’t have enough space.
M D Parmar,the police inspector of Vadodara women police station,says,”They talk of creating an additional cell while we have just one room for a staff of seven assistant police inspectors and some constables.”
Not happy with the project,women police stations have unanimously expressed their displeasure about the project and yet the authorities in Gandhinagar are gearing up to implement upon the scheme.
Ramnivas is,however,quite upbeat about the scheme and said the police commissioner will handle the project in the cities at the local level.
“We will publicise the initiative shortly through advertisements and hoardings. Public awareness will be created about it and a helpline for the cell will soon come up,” said Ramnivas.
* Child protection cells will have toys,educational material,and brightly coloured furniture
* A staff member from an NGO,one police sub-inspector and two lady constables will run the cell
* Local NGOs will primarily counsel the children at the cell
* A special room will be set up at Gandhinagar to maintain the records of the cases and the counsellors