The Chief Minister of West Bengal Mamata Banerjee announced on 6 December that the state would be setting up a special panel to stop child trafficking.
Chaired by Parliamentary Affairs minister Partha Chatterjee, the committees would constitute a Chief Secretary, Home Secretary, DGP and officers and members of the opposition parties, Congress and CPI (M).
The move follows a recent state CID operation, which brought to open a massive newborn trafficking racket carried out by two private nursing homes, Baidya Clinic and Sohon Nursing Home. The nursing homes located in Baduria in North 24 Parganas district, mainly targeted poor families and single mothers and used to sell their unwanted babies to childless couples. There were often cases when the clinic made mothers believe that they had delivered stillborns and then would smuggle their babies.
An NGO called Subodh Memorial Trust was also involved in the racket. Its owner Satyajit Sinha was the one who trapped the childless couples.
The Chief Minister called the incident extremely unfortunate and worrisome and assured that strong action had been taken. At least 20 people including doctors, facilitators, and traffickers have been arrested and licenses of the two nursing homes and the NGO have been suspended.
While three newborns were rescued from biscuit containers in a raid conducted at Baduria in North 24 Parganas district, 10 more newborn baby girls were found in an old age home in Kolkatta.
Mamta Banerjee has directed the panel to meet at least once a month. Her proposal was accepted by the house after a majority raised their hands in support.
Apart from this, the Chief Minister has also stated that humanitarian aid will be provided to the poor who were forced to sell their children in exchange for money. However, those who had done it purely out of greed would be handled strongly.
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