West Bengal ‘home’ faces action after inmate dies of starvation

January 15th, 2009 - 12:51 am ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, Jan 14 (IANS) All mentally challenged inmates of a government-funded organisation in West Bengal will be shifted to another home within a month, a state minister said Wednesday, after a teenager died of malnutrition there. “All 31 inmates of the Jatio Jorodhi Sansad home at Baruipur town in South 24 Parganas will be shifted to another home, ‘Offer’, within a month,” Social Welfare Minister Biswanath Chowdhury told reporters here.

“A nine-member team led by the district magistrate will take care of the inmates’ food and medicine till the shifting operation is over.”

Chowdhury said two show-cause notices were issued to the home authorities.

“We will take proper legal steps after receiving their statement. We are also waiting for the post-mortem report of the inmate who died. If proved guilty, nobody will be spared,” Chowdhury said.

A three-member team of city intellectuals led by Sheriff Shanta Mitra met Chowdhury.

“Chowdhury has assured us proper action against the guilty,” Mitra said.

He further said: “The home is supposed to be run jointly by the central and state government. While the West Bengal government gives Rs.750 per month for each student’s food, medicine and education, the central government stopped sending money two years ago.”

The inmates suffering from malnutrition have been sent for treatment at the Institute of Child Health in south Kolkata.

Sarat, 17, died allegedly from malnutrition Sunday night.

On police inspection it was found that the other inmates too were suffering from chronic malnutrition; some have even lost their eyesight as an effect of continuous starvation.

Following the incident, the police detained home superintendent Nirapada Porle, although founder Tripti Mitra denied the allegation and said Sarat was suffering from a chronic respiratory problem for the past one-and-a-half years.

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