Apathy forces anganwadi centre to close doors

The closure of an anaganawadi centre which was functioning in a make-shift building at Kudkorigudda colony in the city, has deprived over 25 children below the age of five from enjoying the benefit of initial learning experience and the government facilities that are provided to anganawadi going children.

Kudkorigudda, a non-notified slum area largely resided by Dalits, lacks an anaganawadi centre for the children mostly hailing from poor economic background. An anaganawadi centre was functioning here till this September in a small room adjacent to the house of Felsia Fernandes who was also the teacher in this anganawadi centre. Considering it as a social service, Felsia ran the show for 18 years in a congested room of her house, but called it quits, when the room developed cracks and floors turned moist.

Speaking to Deccan Herald, Felsia said that when the anganawadi was opened in her house premises two decades ago, 5 children used to come, but over the years, the number of children who came to this anganawadi increased to 30. Nearly 20 children were learning in this anaganawadi centre during the time of closure three months ago.

Explaining how her repeated efforts to get help from the government to improve the existing structure or to construct a new building in Kudkorigudda went in vain, she said “finally I gave up. A drainage that passes by the side of my house overflows during monsoon. The drainage water which enters to the house verandah was unhygienic and was annoying the children. Realising that there is no way out, I decided to close the centre,” she said.

Disappointed      

The parents of little children in this area are a disappointed lot now. Housewife Usha S said that her three and half year old daughter Nidhishree stays at home, since the anganawadi is closed.

“Earlier she was good at learning alphabets and numbers, but with the closure of the centre, she has forgotten whatever she had learnt,” Usha regrets.

Another housewife Muneera has admitted her son to a nearby private nursery school after the anganawadi was closed. “We have to pay a monthly fee of Rs 600 to the private nursery school. The children are also deprived from the health assistance and food supplements that were provided in the anganawadi,” she complained.

Responding to the issue, Child Development Project Officer Gangadhar said that Kudkorigudda anganawadi has been now shifted to a naxal-affected village in Belthangady. There is no land availability in Kudkorigudda and in the surrounding area to build a new anganawadi centre. Despite several efforts to get a small piece of land for the purpose, the Department failed in its attempts.

Hence, Women and Child Welfare Department Deputy Director has ordered to shift the centre to Belthangady. The government can build a centre in future based on the land availability, he stated.

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