The Tamil Nadu government has decided to adopt all children who lost their parents when tsunamis hit at least 13 coastal districts of the state, claiming several thousand lives.
New homes to shelter at least 100 children in each would be opened in Nagapattinam, Kanyakumari and Cuddalore, in addition to the government-run homes which are already functioning, Chief Minister Jayalalithaa said in a statement in Chennai.
"The opening of three new homes will ensure that no child is left in the lurch. Special provisions will be made especially for the kids. Ayahs will be appointed to take care of them. Playing materials and special medical facilities will also be part of such new homes," Jayalalithaa said.
Meanwhile, some leading companies of Coimbatore have come forward to adopt orphaned children and construct houses for the affected families, particularly those from Nagapattinam district.
Responding to the call given by the administration, PSG and Sons' Charities proposed to construct 100 houses in a village in Nagapattinam district, which bore the major brunt of the tsunamis.
Each house, with a floor area of 165 sq ft and consisting of a bed-cum-living room and kitchen, would cost Rs 28,000, V Rajan, managing trustee, said in a release in Coimbatore.
The construction work would be undertaken in collaboration with the district authorities. The latter would be responsible for selection of the sites and the beneficiaries.
The trust also proposed to adopt 15 orphaned children and nurture them with shelter, food and education in the PSG and Sons' Children home, till they become self-reliant.
Meanwhile, automobile horn major, Roots Industries has also sent a proposal to adopt 40 children, company sources said.
Similarly, Professional couriers and mineral water firm, Sabols, have expressed their desire to adopt 10 children each.
Welcoming the decision of some private individuals and non-governmental organisations to adopt such orphaned children, Jayalalithaa said certain rules and regulations would have to be followed before giving them for adoption. The social welfare department would assist such people.
Jayalalithaa said that she had already announced that Rs 100,000 would be paid to the families of the dead. The government has decided to put the amount in a fixed deposit even for orphaned children, which they could encash upon their attaining 18 years of age. This will ensure a bright future for them.
She also announced that 'counsellors' in the social welfare department would immediately be sent to help the tsunami-affected parents who now remained 'depressed'. The government would welcome voluntary agencies and NGOs willing to undertake this task.