Guwahati: Assam Social Justice and Empowerment minister Pijush Hazarika has instructed owners of private rehabilitation centres to ensure basic facilities like hygienic living conditions and regular medical check-ups for the inmates within three months.
He also mulled the idea of skill training for reformed inmates from such centres at government expense.
Appalled at the conditions of a private rehabilitation centre in Guwahati that the minister had visited last week, he held a meeting with owners of such centres in the city and relevant authorities here on Saturday to discuss the problems plaguing these places.
The Social Justice and Empowerment minister at the meeting issued strict instructions to the owners to ensure minimum facilities for the inmates.
“I understand that the facilities cannot be provided overnight. Hence, we are giving them a time of three months. If they fail to ensure these facilities at the end of the time frame, those centres will have to be closed down,” Hazarika said.
He also warned the centre owners not to close down in haste due to the government order as it will put the inmates in difficulty.
“If any centre has to be closed down after three months, the inmates will be provided accommodation at government-run facilities,” the minister added.
Hazarika also mooted skill training for reformed inmates and said he will pitch for allotting money for training of 1,000 such people in next year’s state budget.
The facilities to be ensured are the accommodation of up to four persons in a normal-sized room, one set of toilets for each 5 to 7 inmates, nutritious food and regular health check-up.
Hazarika also favoured a system of permission from the Health Department and local municipal corporation for setting up any rehabilitation centre.
A committee consisting of representatives from stakeholder departments and eight owners of rehabilitation centres was formed at the meeting for preparing a report on a policy for granting permission to such centres.
The report will be submitted within two months.
The meeting was also attended by the Health Department, Police and Guwahati Municipal Corporation top officials.
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