The Chief Minister of Odisha State in eastern India, Naveen Patnaik, on Thursday (December 30) directed district collectors to ensure that no shelter or orphanage under Missionaries of Charity (MC) suffers and added that money from the CM's relief fund could be used for aid if needed.
Days after Missionaries of Charity asked the Indian central government to freeze its bank accounts following the refusal of the Union Home Ministry to renew its FCRA (foreign funding) licence, Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik on Thursday directed district collectors to ensure that no shelter or orphanage under the organisation suffers and added that money from the chief minister's relief fund could be used for aid if needed.
The move follows the Ministry of Home Affairs directive refusal to renew the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) approval of the MC sisters, saying it did not meet the eligibility criteria.
Mother Teresa started her work in Odisha in 1974. In Odisha, the Missionaries of Charity run 13 centres for the sick, abandoned, elderly, leprosy patients, mentally disabled, and orphans. The organisation serves over a thousand marginalized and underprivileged inmates, including children, local authorities told a leading English language daily.
The Missionaries of Charity's head office in Bhubaneswar said people voluntarily contribute to the organisation. "We never ask for money. Those who are influenced by our good work donate money for the cause of the people," MC superior Sister Stany Rose told The Telegraph Newspaper.
"We are grateful to the chief minister for announcing his support and we are indebted to the people of Odisha for their love and support to us over the years," Sister Rose said.
"Currently, there is an old-age home in Bhubaneswar being run by us since 1974. While 100 people live there, we support another 150 who regularly come for food.
"We are running 13 centres across the state and nearly 2,000 people are getting benefits. All those who are staying in our homes are helpless and destitute people."
The Missionaries of Charity also runs a rehabilitation centre for leprosy patients in Odisha.
"We have also allowed psychiatric patients to reside in a separate unit at our Janla Leprosy Centre, about 15 km from Bhubhaneshwar. Our sisters take care of everyone with great affection," Sister Rose said.
Officials in the Khudra district have immediately intervened and supplied rations and daily items to last 15 days. "We will continue to offer all help they need till their accounts are restored," Khudra District collector Sangram Mohapatra told The Times of India.
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