In a bizarre turn of events, an old couple from Shirawada is struggling to take their only granddaughter back home from the Balamandir, a state-run Children’s Care Home in Karwar, Uttara Kannada district of Karnataka.
Gowramma (60) and Krisnappa (65) lost their daughter and son-in-law of HIV around eight years ago. The deceased had a 3-year-old daughter who came into grandparents’ care after the parents’ death. The old couple loved the child dearly and brought her up well. Everything was going on smoothly until a few months ago when Krishnappa fell sick and was advised surgery in Mangalore.
With no relatives to look after the child for over 2-3 months, the couple was trying to figure out safe boarding facilities for her. They didn’t want to take the child with them for the fear of Covid and also because she would miss her online classes. As per one of their relatives suggested, they left the girl in the care of Balamandir in Karwar, the district headquarters.
Balamandir is a child care center run by the Child Welfare Committee of the State. The said relative called the center and enquired the formalities on behalf of the couple. The center agreed to take care of the child until the couple finished their treatment and then would be sent back to them.
After around 3 months, the couple returned after Krishnappa’s surgery and post-operative care. They went to Balamandir and asked the officials to send their grand-daughter. The officials said they cannot send the child with them since somebody else came to drop the child to the center and they do not know if these are the real family members.
Since Krishnappa was ill and Gowramma had to stay back to nurse him, another relative volunteered to drop off the child to Balamandir then. Now, that relative has gone out of the city and will take some time to return. Meanwhile, the relative sent their representative to speak to the officials. But the child didn’t recognise them and hence the officials turned them down.
Now, the social investigation team of the Child Welfare Committee is looking into the matter. Once they are convinced about the grandparents and their relationship with the child, they will hand her over to them. This might take one or two weeks’ time. But the old couple is completely panicked fearing the child might never be back with them. The overlooking committee is trying to speed up the process.