With the number of homeless children on city streets on a rise, the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) was looking out for social organisations to operate the civic-run Gharte, shelter for homeless, in civic jurisdiction. The civic administration has put a condition that children once admitted to shelter homes should not be found begging on streets.
Seeking proposals from the social organisations, the PMC administration has clarified that only orphans or children from the family living on streets or those migrated to city will be eligible for admission to the shelter home. “The social organisation will be provided with an area to identify eligible children for rehabilitation, but they have to ensure that children admitted to Gharte shall not be found begging on city streets,” said Sanjay Ranjane, in-charge of PMC’s urban community development department.
According to the PMC, shelter homes will be set up at places close to railway stations, bus stands, public hospitals, religious places, tourist destinations and main market places. Each shelter home will be allowed to admit a maximum of 100 children and there should be with separate living place for girls and boys.
He said a maximum of two children from a family could be admitted to the shelter for homeless. “The consent of either of the parent is necessary and not of any distant relative,” Ranjane said, adding that food should be provided by self-help groups that have obtained licence from the food and drug administration department and children should not be served non-vegetarian food, to avoid food poisoning.
According to the PMC, children only in the age group of 5 to 12 years can be admitted to shelter homes. The social organisation will have to keep details of registered children, along with their photographs, and will have to share the same with local police and civic administration.
Medical check-up of children has to be done at the time of their admission and the organisation will also have to ensure that their check-up is done at least once a year. There should be separate wardens for boys and girls in the shelter. The social organisation should keep record of each visitor to the Gharte project.
They have to ensure that the children are provided free and compulsory education, as per the law.
The civic administration said that 10,427 street children were identified in the survey carried out in 2016, which included 6,053 boys, 4,347 girls and 27 transgenders in the age category of one to 18 years. However, the civic body has been running three Gharte and four night shelters in the city, with a total strength of 210 children.
“The PMC will review the performance of the existing operators of Gharte and night shelters along with looking for new organisation to start the Gharte centres in other places of city,” Ranjane said.