Mothers throw away multi-grain mix for infants

Mothers throw away multi-grain mix for infants

The Nutrimix mixture provided by the Department of Women and Child Development at anganawadi centres.

What should have been nutritional supplement for infants is often landing up in the dumpster or fed to the strays as mothers complain that the government-supplied multi-grain mix is of awful quality.

Children between six months to two years are given the powdered multi-grain mixture, otherwise called Nutrimix, under the Department of Women and Child Development's Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS).

Mothers found fine sand particles in the flour and had issues cooking it at home. Now, they refuse them outright when anganwadi workers offer the powder packets. The nutritional supplements are offered to children belonging to families in the below-poverty-line category.

"They tell us to add the powder to hot water and it would be ready for the child to consume. However, even after several minutes of cooking it in boiling water, it does not get soft enough to feed an infant," complained Radha, a mother from Tumakuru district.

She said her family gets the powder from anganwadi centres, where workers force it on them. "We part-cook it and feed it to the stray dogs," she added.

Similar complaints have emerged from parts of Chikkaballapur as well. "Mothers tell us that they have found sand grains in the mixture. There are instances when the grains are coarsely ground and the newborn can't eat it," said an anganwadi worker, seeking anonymity.

"Each mother is handed 2.5 kilograms of the flour. They sign the register at the centre for receiving the flour, but leave the packets back saying they are of no use. Some drop them at the dumpster in our presence," said Nagarathna, secretary, Karnataka State Anganwadi
Workers Association.

This newspaper contacted officials in-charge of ICDS, who said they have not received any complaints about the supplements. "It is produced by the Mahila Supplementary Nutrition Production Centres. We heard no complaints. It is a ready-to-eat, roasted and ground product and (we) don't see why there should be a concern," said the official.

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