The baby cradle centres in Kerala, aimed at providing shelter for children abandoned by their parents, are set to be upgraded by using latest technologies to make them more secure and accountable.
The state government has also planned to more than double the number of "Ammathottil', as the centres are known in local parlance, from existing 14 to at least 30.
It has been planned to make the centres hi-tech by upgrading the existing alarm, which is sounded when a baby is placed in the cradle, and taking a photo of the child and recording its weight and sending the details to officials through mobile phone, a senior KSCCW official said.
Launched on November 14, 2002, 'Ammathottil' seeks to provide better life conditions for the destitute, abandoned and relinquished children rather than being abandoned on way sides or other places.
As soon as the babies are left at the cradle, an automatic alarm would be sounded and officials would come and collect the child.
The babies, received at the cradles, would be brought up at the council's child care centres.
At present, the state has 14 baby cradle centres and the plan was to increase it at least up to 30 in one year besides several of the existing centres would be shifted to ideal locations, KSCCW general secretary Deepak S P said.
A number of complaints have cropped up recently regarding private child care and adoption centres, he noted.
As a pilot project, baby cradles in Ernakulam and Thiruvananthapuram, the council headquarter, would be equipped with hi-tech gadgets, the official said.
"The baby cradle here will go completely hi-tech by the next month. In the next one year, all the existing centres will be up upgraded completely," he said.
The process to identify suitable locations to set up the new facilities and relocate the existing centres was underway.
Though the baby cradles have automatic alarm facility, its technology had become outdated, forcing the authorities to upgrade it.
There had been instances of people leaving toys and even stones in the cradles to play a prank, Deepak said.
After that, the alarm will be sounded only if a child is left there," he said.
After the upgradation, authorities concerned would receive text message and a photo of the abandoned child in their mobile phones as soon as a baby is left in the cradle.
Photos would be sent to officials, including the district collector, and the child welfare committee chairman.
In case of electricity failure, the facility would work with the support of uninterrupted power system.
"Besides the photo of the child, its weight and the time of reception will be recorded and sent as messages to the officials concerned. With this, the entire process will become more secure and accountable," Deepak said.
The Kerala State Industrial Enterprises (KSIE) has been entrusted with the task of modernising the baby cradle centres.
The council has so far received over 240 children in its baby cradles across the state since 2002.
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