Ill-maintained buildings, dingy rooms with poor lighting, broken furniture and cradles…these are the common features of crèches being run by Indian Council for Child Welfare (ICCW) under the supervision of UT social welfare department. The department runs 60 creches at 53 different locations across the city.
Working parents from middle and lower-middle class families solely depend on these government crèches for the daycare of their children. The department charge Rs 300 for half day (10am to 1.30pm) and Rs 600 for full day (10am to 5pm) per child per month. For the labour class, the parents have to pay only Rs 100 per child per month.
Hindustan Times carried out a reality check and visited the creches across the city and the findings were far from satisfactory. It was found that the administration was not even following the basic guidelines while running the crèches.
Besdies the poor state of infrastructure, monkeys pose serious threat to the safety of the kids. Also, the staff deployed at the centres don’t get their salary on time. The supply of mid-day meal ration to the crèches is also irregular.
The situation was no different at Sector 19-D crèche. The supply of the mid-day meal ration is erratic. “The mid-day meal ration sometimes come monthly, at times after two months and then suddenly the supply stops for months together,” said an employee. The coolers and fridge here had been donated by the parents of the kids.
At Sector 20, kids were put up in a dimly-lit room. There was not even a cooler or a fridge. The room was also in a bad shape with paint wearing out and cupboards broken.
The creche in Sector 44 has around 40 children. There is hardly any furniture for the kids to sit on. All the children were found sleeping on the mats placed on the floor. The cradles and racks were also found broken. A room was being used as a store.
SECTOR 35-D, SECTOR 27
There are 35 children enrolled at the crèche in Sector 35-D. When the HT team visited the Sector 27 crèche it was even worse. There was seepage in walls and the wood work on the windows was termite infested. The eatables kept in the rooms attract mice and monkeys too pose a threat to the safety of the children, forcing the staff to keep the kids indoors most of the time. The monkeys damage the water tank and pipes, resulting in leakages. There are 25 children at the crèche in Sector 27.
The incharge at the crèche, Renu Bala, said they were greatly hassled due to monkeys and seepage. “We have complained several times to the senior functionaries but to no avail,” she said. Another employee, not wishing to be named, pointed out the irregular supply of ration. “At times to meet the food needs of the kids, we depend solely on whatever the parents send,” he said.
EMPLOYEES ALSO AT THE RECEIVING END
The earned leave of the helpers have been cancelled even though they have served for more than 30 years. They get their salaries quite late. A helper in Sector 19, Sushila, 58, was to retire in January this year but she is still working even as she has not been given any letter of extension. She has also not got the salary for four months.