Adoption agency to close down, 25 kids to be shifted

Nisha Nambiar : Pune, Tue Nov 19 2013

Gujarat snooping case: SC to hear suspended IAS officer Sharma’s plea in Dec

Pune-based adoption agency Preet Mandir has decided to close its child care and adoption activities and has written to the Women and Child Welfare Department to transfer the children from its Kalyani Nagar home — the only office functional after its Pune Camp office was closed down — to other adoption homes. The agency has 25 children, including 15 special kids. A letter in this regard was sent to the department on November 7.

After three requests for renewal of licence and recognition certificate and several follow-ups did not yield results, Preet Mandir decided to shut operations. “Under the present circumstances, with profound regret we are constrained to stop our child care and adoption activities and earnestly request you to transfer the children as deemed appropriate by November 30,” states the letter written by Preet Mandir managing trustee D P Bhatia.

The department received the letter on November 13 and officials said they would now initiate the process of transferring the children. Deputy Commissioner of Women and Child Rahul More said they will forward the proposal to the government. “We will inform the child welfare committee to transfer the children as soon as possible while we forward the closure request letter to the government. We had also forwarded the agency’s letter for licence renewal to the government,” he said.

In the letter, Bhatia stated the agency has been corresponding with the department since last November, following up on January 2 this year and March 29. “We have reconstituted the board of trustees with the prime objective of improved management practices and also consolidated all our operations under one roof at Kalyani Nagar for better supervision and control,” it stated. The agency claimed even after correspondence and clarification, the government didn’t renew the certificate of recognition.

“You are well aware that we do not receive any grant from the state/Central government and have not been allotted any fresh admission of children since June 2010. Consequently, there have been very few adoptions that could support our operations. Yet all this while we have maintained the requisite staff, causing enormous financial burden on our limited resources in firm hope of renewal of certificate of recognition and commencement of admissions,” stated the letter. The board of trustees met on November 1 and a resolution was passed on the same.

Courting controversy

The licence of Preet Mandir — which had earlier courted controversy over its functioning — to give children to adoptive parents abroad was not renewed by the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) and thereafter inter-country adoptions too expired in February this year.

In the past two years, when Preet Mandir had permission for adoption within the country, they were able to place nearly 12 children for adoption while some were shifted, leaving only 25 children at the Kalyani Nagar office.
The adoption agency ran into a controversy with a CBI inquiry initiated in February 2006, followed by cancellation of its inter-country adoptions in July 2006. Later, a showcause notice was issued for in-country adoptions in 2010 , which the agency challenged and the High Court had given it two years’ reprieve for in-country adoptions from 2011, which expired on February 23 this year.