In hard times, couple put son up for sale

Broke and broken

In hard times, couple put son up for sale

It is a last-ditch, desperate step from a family that has gone completely broke. A decision that can come only after having exhausted all options to keep life going.

A poverty-stricken couple at Alarwad on the outskirts of the city have come forward to sell Prem, their five-month-old son, after pensions from the government stopped abruptly and health problems prevented them from taking up employment.

The family resides opposite the multi-crore State secretariat building, the Suvarna Vidhana Soudha, but has so far, failed to attract the attention of politicians or officials who held the winter session of the legislature there recently.

Vijay Diwate and his wife Manjula are finding it difficult to bring even one meal to the table for their family of five.

Vijay suffers from a problem of abnormal hands and legs and was entitled to a social security pension of Rs 400 a month, which he has now stopped. Manjula’s heart ailments have restricted her ability to work.

The old-age pension that Chandravva, Vijay’s mother, had been getting from the government stopped, without reason. Chandravva is not getting these days the food grains she got under the ‘Jogti’ practice of labour.

Amidst all this, the growth of the couple’s four-year-old son, Sridhar, has suffered. That is not the end of the family’s travails.

Growing debts

The Rs 2,000 pension that Manjula’s mother used to part with, to sustain the family, has also been stopped.

Vijay has to repay a housing loan of Rs 40,000 taken under the Ashraya scheme and frequent warnings from officials that their house will be forfeited on defaulting has left the family in dire straits and left their morale in tatters.  

Under such conditions, the Diwates’ only hope is the food leftovers of the mid-day meal scheme at the local school. “On holidays, the family goes to bed on an empty stomach,” said Yallavva Konkeri, a neighbour.

Social activist Kasturi Bhavi said, the family has electricity bill due of the amount of Rs 3,000, resulting in the power supply being snapped. They also have debts to the tune of Rs 60,000.

The family has now left for Bangalore in the hope that philanthropists will come forward
to help them.

‘Sale a crime’

K H Obalappa, Deputy Director of the Women and Child Welfare Department, told Deccan Herald that trafficking/selling children was a crime.

He has advised the Diwates that they can relinquish custody of their children to the department, which will house them at its child centres here.

The department was also prepared to help the family obtain medical treatment and employment, he said.

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