Monday, January 03, 2005

Ordeals of the orphans

10-year-old Mahesh, who lost his parents in the tsunami, ailing at the hospital, was suddenly surrounded by an uncle and aunt, claiming to be his mother's sister. But the truth of the matter was that his mother was the only daughter to his grand parents. Luckily, his grand father, who is also a fisherman, who had been out on the sea and was deemed dead, returned alive to stake claim of his grand son.
Such stories of suddenly-sprung aunts and uncles are abound in most of the tsumani hit areas in the State. Many of them, mostly orphans, suddenly seem to have too many unseen and unheard of relatives around them. But all these uncles and aunts are not here not to take care of them but to take away their Rs 1-lakh solatium announced by the chief minister for tsunami victims. The district authorities and the voluntary organisations are having a tough time in ascertaining the veracity of the claims of such con men.
But with everything lost for all these children, it's the duty of the government to ensure their future. Its quite disgusting to note that amidst such an apocalypse, how some conmen have the heart to deprive these young ones of the little aid that they are being offered. With the stench of decayed bodies and wailings of forlorn parents around, one cannot imagine how can such heartless heathens are ever ready to play their tricks for material gains.
But, there has to be a way if not to eliminate, atleast to check these tricksters. With too many pressing demands now, it's indeed difficult for the government to stop the children from being handed over to their so-called relatives. However, before disbursing the solatium, the government can atleast ensure that the money is being deposited in the name of the children and its withdrawals are being monitored by a separate authority to ensure that the children are really benefited. Or as it had happened in Mumbai, where a Thane-based NGO had offered to adopt the orphans in Andamans and give them boarding and education to secure their future, the government can approach such reliable NGOs to take up the task of setting up orphanages and hand over the money to them to ensure the young ones's safety.
Their parents have become a thing of past for these children and may be some of them do not even want to think about the dreaded black sunday. But, at least, it has to be ensured that they have some support to look forward to their future with a little hope.


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