Report by Badal Tah; Rayagada : Sri Raising Meleka, a tribal inhabitant of Karubai village of Rayagada block has alleged that his new born baby was admitted in a private nursing home on 18th March at Rayagada town run by Dr Nabakishore Kundu in stead of the local govt hospital in the district headquarters. The baby carried by his aunt, ward member and some villagers and accompanied by ANM Prabhati Jena and local ASHA worker. The clinic’s staff took signature of the baby’s aunt and told her to go back to village. Notably, the baby’s mother died after giving birth to the child.
“When there is a nutritional centre & Special Newborn Care Unit(SNCU) in District Headquarters Hospital(DHH) and special child ward, the reason of admitting the destitute baby in a private nursing home is best known to the ANM. The nexus between the private clinics and government health staff members is obvious”, said Sri Rabindra Patakhandal, a senior RTI activist of the region.
After a week, Raising and his relatives arrived at Nav Jivan Nursing Home managed by Dr.Kundu’s wife named Smt Rubirani Kundu and asked for the baby; but they were said to deposit Rs.37500; as Raising is a very poor tribal man and lives hand to mouth, he told his inability to pay. Then Raising and the villagers demanded the nursing home staff to see the baby to which they were denied. Finally they were told that the baby has died and they cremated him after the next day of his death. They could not inform the father as his phone number and whereabouts were not there.
“The nursing home management was really whimsical in registration process while admitting the baby. When the child died, why did they cremate without informing the concerned authorities ? Why did not someone from the clinic go to Karubai village, which is hardly 9-10 kilometres ? Not knowing the whereabouts of baby’s father and the phone numbers of ASHA, ANM or AWW or police and therefore, not informing is certainly a hoax. All these persons, who hushed up the matter and made it a mess, must be taken to task ”, said Sri Rasmiranjan Dora, a senior scribe of the district.
Doubting a foul play, Raising wrote to CDPO, Rayagada on 27th may, told the local news reporters about the whole incident and charged the nursing home management of selling the child elsewhere for a hefty amount of money. The CDPO then wrote the District Child Protection Officer for rescuing the child. When the news reporters investigated, they found dissimilarities in the statements of nursing home management, ANM, ASHA worker and Anganwadi Worker and informed the District Collector Saroj Mishra, who ordered to institute an inquiry led by CDM & PHO Dr Lal Mohan Routray.
A committee constituting Child Welfare Committee member, Legal Officer & District Child Protection Officer inquired into the matter and corroborated with the investigation of the news reporters. They have prepared a joint inquiry report to be given to District Collector for further action. In the mean time, the said inquiry team also has filed an FIR in Rayagada police station.
“This could be just one case of child trafficking with govt-pvt nexus and tip of the ice berg. Voices of poor tribal persons like Raising are increasingly becoming meek before the justice rendering authorities. Hardly any monitoring of these clinics under Clinical Establishment Act is done. So, this catastrophe. Now, the evidences are crystal clear. It is a real litmus test amidst avalanche of corrupt practices under the aegis of the district administration”, opined by Sri Shyam Das, an activist working for Dibyang rights in Rayagada.