Delhi Commission for Women found 11 inmates of Asha Kiran died in the past two months
GN Bureau | February 7, 2017
The shocking state of affairs at Asha Kiran, the Delhi government’s home for the mentally challenged, is now in focus following a surprise visit by a team led by Delhi Commission for Women chairperson Swati Maliwal. However, over two years back, a CAG report too had exposed the glaring shortcomings at the home.
The DCW surprise visit revealed that 11 inmates have died in the past two months.
Maliwal said that women were being made to remove their clothes in the open while being lined up for taking a bath. Shockingly, completely nude women were roaming around in the corridors. Moreover, the corridors of the dormitory had CCTV cameras installed which are being monitored by male staffers. The Commission saw the CCTV footage which captured mentally- challenged women roaming around nude.
Read: Asha Kiran inmates wait in vain for new home
On over-burdened occupancy, the CAG report said in 2015 that the complex houses on an average 970 inmates against its designed capacity of 350. In the backdrop of 57 deaths that occurred in the complex during 2009-10, a ministerial committee recommended (February 2010) immediate de-congestion of these homes. Again, a decision was taken in the chief minister’s meeting (February 2011) to shift the inmates of the Asha Kiran Homes to Beggar Homes at Lampur on urgent basis.
But concrete steps were not taken by the department for decongestion of the complex, except constructing two 80 bedded dormitories in the complex and shifting of 186 inmates to other 21 assembling of mechanical and electrical goods, cutting and tailoring, binding and packaging work etc.
The department stated (March 2015) that three new homes are under construction for mentally challenged persons, at Narela, Hari Nagar and Vasant Kunj. The fact remains that a total of 148 deaths occurred during 2009-14, indicating slackness on the part of the Department towards decongestion of the Asha Kiran complex, said the CAG report.
On availability of ambulance, audit observed that only one ambulance for 24 hours and two patient carrying vehicles for office hours were available during 2013-14 for 949 residents of the complex, out of which 469 were severely and profoundly mentally retarded. Due to non-availability of ambulance, on 8,607 occasions, patients/inmates were carried to different hospitals by auto rickshaws, cycle rickshaws etc. In its reply, the department stated (March 2015) that MoU had been signed (September 2014) with CATS for providing ambulance services, whenever required.
There were 215 staff against the sanctioned posts of 260, with a shortage of 45 in the complex. Keeping in view the actual strength of inmates in the complex, the actual requirement of staff is 502, as worked out by the department.
Consequent upon a joint visit report (October 2012) on Asha Kiran Complex by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) and the Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR) which pointed high prevalence of malnourishment, skin diseases etc., the governing council of the complex in its meeting (January 2013), discussed and decided that a nutritious diet to the inmates was important. Audit observed that despite these observations and decisions, there was no dietician available in the complex to monitor the quantity and quality of diet provided to the residents of the complex.
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