The state Women and Child Welfare department on Wednesday held a high-level meeting with CID officials to take note of the latest developments in the newborn trafficking investigation, and has decided to conduct weekly inspections of NGOs and children’s homes, according to sources.
The move comes after Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee instructed the police and administration to trace out the nexus of the racket, and ensure strict action against those involved. An official record will be maintained with details of all NGOs active in Bengal.
“NGOs are growing like mushrooms, and need to be monitored,” said an official who was a part of the meeting. Joint reports by the police and local civic bodies will regularly be forwarded to the child welfare department for strict vigilance.
According to sources, the police and administration will work together to stop this menace. Surprise inspections will be carried out in NGOs and homes, and if any indiscretion is reported, immediate action as per law will be taken, sources said. The state government is also likely to come up with new norms wherein anyone interested in adopting babies will have to go through proper police verification.
“It should be mandatory for couples who want to adopt a child to go through verification, which will help the government maintain records and ensure better transparency,” said an official. Till date, about 20 people have been arrested in the trafficking case, and about 13 newborns have been recovered.
The police is also keeping strict vigilance on those connected with private maternity nursing homes. A series of raids have been conducted in areas such as Burdwan, West Medinipore and Cooch Behar.
However, officials believe such illegal activities can only be eradicated when the whole system is revised.
“This racket has not only exposed the loopholes in the existing system, it has also uncovered the ugly side of our society where newborns have been treated as a commodity,” a health department official said on condition of anonymity.