In Rajasthan minister’s backyard, anganwadi centres in shambles
During visit to some of the anganwadi centres in Ajmer South, HT found that many of them do not have enough space to accommodate the enrolled students. The centres also lacked in ventilation and toilet facilitiesjaipur Updated: Dec 31, 2017 19:31 IST
Contrary to women and child welfare minister Anita Bhadel’s claim that the state government has taken enough measures to improve the quality of services at anganwadi centres across Rajasthan, visit to many such centres in Ajmer tell a different stories, leave aside condition of the centres in other districts.
During visit to some of the anganwadi centres in Ajmer South, HT found that many of them do not have enough space to accommodate the enrolled students. The centres also lacked in ventilation and toilet facilities.
A centre in the Dhanandi area was found running in a tiny shop with no toilet or floor carpet. The centre has 25 children on roll, but do not have enough space to accommodate 10 children properly. “Government gives only ₹700 as rent. Can you expect to find a good property (to run the centre) in this tiny amount in the town,” asked Poonam Saini, the centre in-charge.
At the centre in Sringar Chanwari area, the main door and windows were found broken, mice peeping out from behind utensils, and floor and washroom not cleaned. Of the 25 enrolled students, only seven were found present.
When questioned about the dismal condition of the centre, Suman Bhati, the centre in-charge, told HT that they are overburdened with work. “We have to cook food for children (as no one is ready to cook food at ₹100 per month paid by the government), conduct vaccination drive, complete all paper work and other tasks assigned from time to time, which leaves us with no time to manage things at centre,” she said.
On checking the centre’s register, a note of October 20 written by supervisor of Ajmer South centres Suman Tak revealed that the centres were not functioning properly. When questioned about her note, Tak said, “I inspected the centres and found that anganwari workers are not doing their job properly. I have informed about the matter to higher-ups.”
Working of anganwadi centres came under scrutiny after more than 19 infants died during treatment at the JLN hospital in May 2016. It was claimed then that the infants died, as they were born weak. Anaganbari centres allegedly did not take proper pre-natal care of the expecting mothers, leading to the premature deliveries and birth of under-weight babies.
When contacted, Bhadel said there is a scope for improvement in the working of anganbari centres in Rajasthan. “Because of financial crunch and administrative problems, we are facing some problems at centres in urban areas. However, let me take the liberty to say that the overall condition of anganwadi centres in the state has improved a lot after I became the minister,” she said. “Earlier these centres were in a very bad condition. We are making every possible effort to improve them further,” she added.