|Mamata with a baby at the public meeting in Jalpaiguri. Picture by Biplab Basak|
TT, Jalpaiguri, March 28: Chief minister Mamata Banerjee today instructed state women, child and social welfare department and Jalpaiguri district administration to take all possible steps to stop child trafficking.
"We will not tolerate trafficking of children and women. There are reports of such incidents from Jalpaiguri district. The administration, along with block development officers and police, should keep a strict vigil on government and non-government shelters in Jalpaiguri district," Mamata said at an administrative review meeting held at Sarojendra Deb Raikat Sanskritik Kalakendra here this afternoon.
The chief minister's directive has come in the aftermath of an alleged child trafficking racket being busted in Jalpaiguri recently.
Besides, The Telegraph had reported on March 10 that as per the data of the National Crime Records Bureau, the maximum number of women and children had been trafficked from Bengal in the past two years.
Roshni Sen, the principal secretary of the state women, child and social welfare department, who was present at today's meeting, said her department was coming up with a mobile app that would keep records of children at shelters in the state.
"An app can always be used but before that, the practice of maintaining a comprehensive register with all such details should be immediately introduced in Jalpaiguri district and across the state," Mamata said.
The chief minister said the administration should ensure that no child or woman was trafficked through international borders or inter-state boundaries.
Mamata also said the public works department would build five over-bridges along NH31D in the district.
Later, she attended a public meeting at Biswabangla Krirangan - the Sports Complex Ground - and announced that Jalpaiguri would get a medical college.
Ahead of the administrative meeting, Mamata interacted with representatives of 25 private nursing homes in Jalpaiguri district. She asked the inspectors in charge of police stations and BDOs to remain vigilant and visit nursing homes at least once a month.
"During such visits, the BDOs and ICs should check whether patients are getting necessary service, any of them is overcharged and proper medicines are administered. After the visit, they should submit necessary reports to the district magistrate, the superintendent of police and the chief medical officer of health," Mamata said.
The chief minister asked the nursing homes to make packages for treatment at lower costs, instead of charging patients under different heads.
Mamata referred to the West Bengal Clinical Establishment (Registration, Regulation & Transparency) Act, 2017 - a bill recently passed by the Assembly - and said a committee headed by the district magistrate would be formed in each district.
"Anybody dissatisfied with services at a private nursing home or clinic can file a complaint with the committee. People can also approach the chief medical officer of health," she said.
After the public meeting, Mamata headed for Sukna, around 10km from Siliguri.
She will stay at the forest bungalow there tonight.