Brahm Mohindra’s visit: Anganwadi staff attend medical camp in Ludhiana, shun service | punjab$ludhiana | Hindustan Times
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Brahm Mohindra’s visit: Anganwadi staff attend medical camp in Ludhiana, shun service

Anganwadi workers say they were called last minute and were their to just increase head count, working parents suffered as they couldn’t drop their kids to anganwadi centres, take day off

punjab Updated: May 21, 2017 16:03 IST
Tarsem Singh Deogan
Anganwadi workers and helpers, who were asked to attend the programme of health minister at International Public School in Ludhiana on Saturday.
Anganwadi workers and helpers, who were asked to attend the programme of health minister at International Public School in Ludhiana on Saturday.(Jagtinder Singh Grewal/HT Photo)

To exhibit a false show of strength during the visit of Punjab health minister, Brahm Mohindra, at the medical camp at International Public School, Sandhu Nagar, on Saturday, Anganwadi workers and helpers were summoned at short notice to be part of the audience.

The workers were summoned at the cost of closing at least 25 centres for the entire day, hence creating problems for parents of hundreds of kids.

Anganwadi workers and helpers are hired by the government to run the central government’s Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) welfare programme that provides nutrition, pre-school education to children below six years of age.

The camp was organised by Ludhiana health department.

Anganwadi workers and their helpers were called at 9am on Saturday and were allowed to leave in the afternoon after the minister left the venue, following which all 25 anganwadi centres of Haibowal circle remained closed.

Anganwadi workers said centres are government’s preschools for tiny tots, which cannot be called off at such short notice. Workers also added that the families that cannot afford private kindergartens send their children to these centres, which are being run from each locality. Most of the children that come to the centres belong to labourers, who go to work after leaving their wards in their custody.

“A message was conveyed to us unofficially from an official of women security and development of women and child department about the function we were asked to attend, along with the helpers,” said an anganwadi worker.

“On Saturday morning, people came to drop their children at the centres, but we told them that they are closed for one day. Harried parents went back with their children,” she added.

Another anganwadi worker added that the programme was organised by the health department and they had nothing to do with it. They were called to increase head counts only. She further added that the centre cannot be closed for even one day. Either worker or helper should be present at the centre attending, feeding and taking care of the children.

Even when the anganwadi workers are on a strike in favour of their demands, either they or their helpers stay at the centres. If they fail to do so, the department deducts their salary, said another worker.

Meenu, a hosiery worker, said she used to leave at 9am for factory after dropping her 3-year-old son at a centre and pick him up in the afternoon.

Till than her elder daughter comes back from school and she takes care of her younger sibling. Now, as the anganwadi centre was shut, she had to take leave from work to take care of her son.

LUDHIANA HAS MORE THAN 800 AANGANWADI CENTRES

Rupinder Kaur, programme officer of anganwadi centres said, if it was a government department’s event then anganwadi workers and helpers can attend it. When asked if the centres can call it a day for a programme? She replied that the centres cannot be closed. Later, she added that she will check who asked the workers and helpers to attend the camp.

SK Sandhu, additional secretary, women security and development of women and child department, said he has no information about the programme and that anganwadi workers were called to attend it, but he will inquire into the matter.

Strap At people’s expense Workers say they were called last minute and were their to just increase head count, working parents suffered as they couldn’t drop their kids to anganwadi centres, take day off