Due to no supply of food for the past six months in as many as 2,401 anganwari centres in the district, a huge decline is seen in number of children coming to these centres.Staff members working in these anganwari centres claim the reason behind the decline in the number is due to poor supply of foodgrains, a major attraction for children.
A staff member at an anganwari centre in New Prem Nagar said, “The strength has decreased 42 to 30 children due to scarcity of foodgrains at the centre. Parents of these children don't allow children to come as they are asked to come with tiffin from home.”
The situation is no different at another centre at a government school in Gobind Nagar where the strength has gone down to 28 from 35.
A parent, Nisha, said, “My five-year-old daughter does not like to go to the anganwari centre as she does not get food there.”
The food comprises foodgrain- wheat and rice-which is used to make “Daliya”, while “Panjeeri”, is bought readymade from the market.It has not happened for the first time. In 2013 too, food supply was stopped for three months in all anganwari centres in the district.
When contacted, district programme officer (DPO), women and child development department that is under Central government's integrated child development services (ICDS), Rupinder Kaur said, “Though funds have been released by the Centre, we have not yet received foodgrain due to its less allocation by Food Corporation of India (FCI) for Punjab. The FCI should allocate foodgrain as soon as possible.”
In Ludhiana district, there are total 2,401 anganwari centres where around 4,802 helpers and workers are working. While workers are paid `5,000 a month, helpers get rs2,500.
Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) takes care of allround developmental needs of children who are below six years of age; pregnant women; and lactating mothers in the age group of 15 to 45 through these anganwari centres. A package of six services - supplementary nutrition, immunisation, health check-up, referral services, non-formal pre-school education and nutrition and health education - is provided under the ICDS.