Govt to shift forces from schools

Bhubaneswar: A day after NCPCR strongly objected to police force occupying schools near Posco’s proposed plant, the state government on Tuesday said it will ensure that children return to classrooms instead of joining the anti-Posco agitation.

The state government made this commitment at a meeting with a three-member team of National Commission for Protection of Child Right led by Yogesh Dube here, official sources said. Claiming that police were not occupying all schools in villages near Posco’s proposed plant site, Chief Secretary B K Patnaik told reporters, “Whatever it may be, the government will take steps to respect the commission’s views.

“We will send a team comprising members of civil society, child rights activists and others to motivate parents in Dhinkia area that children need to be in class rooms instead of being part of the agitation,” Patnaik said.

The NCPCR team which visited the anti-Posco agitation site on Monday said that it would submit report to the commission within seven days.

“The commission will also send directives to the state government on condition of children in the state, particularly in Posco’s proposed plant site area,” Dube said.

Replying a question as to who is responsible for using children in the agitation, Dube said "I have received petitions from different people in this regard. But the children themselves said that they came to agitation on their own, mostly being influenced by their parents."

Dube, however, said that the commission would make certain recommendations in this regard on its final report.

The childrens` right to education seemed to have been affected due to the agitation, he said.

NCPCR team also expressed concern over dismal performance of district level child welfare committees, Juvenile Justice Board and welfare measures for migrant labourers` children.

"We will make certain recommendations to the state government over all the children related issues in Orissa," he said.