Fairs are infamous for kids separating from their parents and the issue has been the theme of many an Indian movie. To end this problem, two young IAS officers in Vijayawada have come up with a smart solution of ‘child tagging’ to end this problem. Gandham Chandrudu, Joint Collector of Krishna district, and G Srujana, Sub-Collector of Vijayawada, came out with this simple but realistic solution which is now being effectively used during the ongoing Krishna Pushkaram.
Ever since the 12-day river festival started on August 12, at least 20 children got separated from their parents at different bathing ghats in Vijayawada but, thanks to the ‘Child Tagging’ initiative, they got reunited in no time. “The maximum we took was about 30 minutes to reunite a lost child with the parents. All it takes is just a mobile number,” Chandrudu said.
The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights, impressed by the new initiative, has lavished praise saying the Krishna Pushkaram is the “first child-friendly mela” in the country. NCPCR member Roopa Kapoor visited Vijayawada during the river festival and studied how the Child Tagging worked.
A tamper-proof wrist band is tied to every child before he\she ventures into a bathing ghat with parents or kin. “Basically the parents’ mobile number or any other contact number is written on the tag using indelible ink. It is fed into a special mobile and Internet application and whenever a child is found lost, the parents are contacted using the mobile number,” Chandrudu told PTI.
At Durga ghat, the main venue of Krishna Pushkaram in Vijayawada that teems with thousands of pilgrims at any moment, a 10-year-old girl Teja from West Godavari district got separated from her parents. Teja is dumb but luckily the volunteers on duty at the ghat found her wandering and immediately called her father on the mobile number.
“In ten minutes of our call, Teja was reunited with her parents,” the Joint Collector said. The child tagging proved helpful in an other way as well. A person was coming out of the ghat along with his three-year-old daughter but suffered an epileptic attack.
As the girl looked around helplessly, volunteers called their landline number written on her wrist band. His family members were notified of the matter before he was shifted to a hospital for treatment. This man listed both his mobile and landline numbers and that saved him the day.
“This is a small initiative but helping us in a big way,” a gleaming Chandrudu noted. In all, 10 lakh wrist bands were readied for the Pushkaram and so far over three lakh were used, indicatin that those many children came for a holy dip in the river. “Not just children, we are using this even for senior citizens and disabled persons as well. And, everything is working smoothly,” the young officer observed.