LSG adoptions raise stink

Relates to:
Date: 2009-07-06

By: Rajeev Dikshit

VARANASI: A probe instituted by district magistrate AK Upadhyaya has revealed disturbing facts about the manner of adoptions being done at Laxmi
Shishu Grih (LSG), the district's only authorised centre for child adoption, run by Vijay Laxmi Mahila Utthan Samiti.

During his Janata Darbar, the DM got a complaint from Menka (name changed) a few days back. In her complaint she alleged that when she contacted the authorities of LSG to adopt a child, she was asked to pay Rs 20,000. She claimed that against the demand of the centre's authorities, she paid Rs 18,000, but neither did she get any receipt against the payment nor could she get a child. She was informed that at the time of handing over the child, she would have to pay a draft of Rs 20,000 and Rs 25,000 in cash.

The DM was taken aback by her complaint. Initially, he tried to contact the LSG authorities through telephone, but all the phones of the centre were found non-functional. Finally, he ordered district probation officer AK Mishra and city magistrate Shrinath Shukla to probe the matter. The officials raided the centre on July 2 and later contacted all the couples who had registered themselves with the LSG for adoption.

During the investigation, many irregularities committed at the adoption centre were exposed. As per the prescribed norms for child adoption, informing the local police of the arrival of an abandoned child at the centre within 24 hours is a must. The authorised centre could claim Rs 200 for the registration of a couple or person willing to adopt a child, Rs 5,000 for preparing legal documents, Rs 50 per day for the total number of days of the stay of child at centre or maximum Rs 15,000 and Rs 9,000 for the medical expanses. Providing receipt for all the payments is a must.

However, the investigators found that no receipt was given to Menka against the payment she made to the LSG. Sensational revelations came to light when the investigators contacted several other couples who failed to adopt children from the centre even after registration, spending a lot of money and running from pillar to post for several months. The investigators found that not only the child-seeking couples, but even some foster parents of many children who were found abandoned, had also been threatened by the authorities of LSG to hand over their foster children to the centre or get ready to face `legal action' for keeping such children `illegally'.

The investigators submitted their report to the DM on Monday. The sensational revelations made in this investigation report were sufficient to compel the DM to recommend strong action against this authorised adoption centre. He said recommendations had been made to the government to cancel the recognition of LSG and also to blacklist the centre.

Despite constant efforts, the centre's authorities remained elusive.

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