BHOPAL: Fund crunch has crippled the 27-year-old scheme Jawali meant for rehabilitation of the members of certain communities who practise prostitution.

Samvedna, an NGO, which has been working among more than 500 Bedia families who practise prostitution in five districts of the state for the past 10 years, has made the above observation.

A meeting was held here on Wednesday to share the findings of the study with the media and social activists. The report would also be forwarded to the state woman and child development and the nomadic, semi-nomadic and de-notified tribes development departments.

The Jawali scheme was launched in 1992 by the state government at the directive of the Gwalior Bench of the MP High Court to provide alternative occupations to young women of Bedia and other communities, traditionally involved in the business of prostitution.

Currently, four different agencies are running ashrams in Morena, Chhatarpur, Sagar and Rajgarh districts under the scheme. In this current fiscal year, 431 children from these communities are getting direct benefit under the scheme.

Ramani Ranjan from Samvedna told Free Press that the study has revealed that awareness about the scheme among the potential beneficiaries is poor, sanctioned seats in the ashrams are not enough to cater to the demands of the community and no efforts are being made to ensure holistic development of the children.

The study also concluded that there is no arrangement for keeping a track of the children once they pass out of the schools and the infrastructure at the ashrams is poor.

Aruna Chhari from Vimukta Jati Abhyuday Ashram, Morena said that the woman and child development department, which administers the scheme, is absolutely indifferent to the plight of the children from these communities.

“In 2008, the grant per child was raised from Rs 500 to Rs 725. It has remained unchanged since then. Haven’t prices increased in this period,” she said. Around 150 students are enrolled in the ashram.

Rohini Chhari, who herself comes from the Bedia community and runs an NGO called Bhumi at Morena said that grants are released to them at six monthly intervals.

“We are yet to get the grant due in June. But for the fact that the local traders supply us things on credit, the children would have starved,” she said.

Rohini said that the government should not even think of withdrawing the scheme. “It is a question of the honour of our community. We will not allow the scheme to close,” he said.


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