The woman, Gauri Das, already has three daughters; her husband left the family a few months ago.
The only source of income for the family of five is the alms earned by Gauri’s mother, who begs on the streets of Jalpaiguri.
Gauri claims that though she has worked for a few days under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act scheme, she was never paid for it.
After hearing about the case, the administration swung into action and found the baby, but Gauri refused to take him back.
“I wouldn’t have been able to take care of him. How am I going to feed him,” she told .
She added that she was willing to take her son back if the government offered her some kind of help. So far, she said, the local administration had provided her with some rice, daal and sugar.
A neighbour told that the family was so poor that on rainy days, when Gauri’s mother could not go out to beg, the family went without any food.
The infant is currently under the care of the district child welfare committee.
The state administration has given Gauri 60 days to change her mind, after which the baby will be given away for adoption.