Apathy hits fight against malnutrition in Kalyan K'taka

Department of Women and Child Development has not released funds to several taluks of Kalaburagi district for the past eight months for distribution of eggs to malnourished kids and pregnant women, under various schemes launched by the state.

Lack of funds for distributing eggs among malnourished children aged 3 to 6 years, and pregnant and lactating mothers in Kalaburagi district has defeated the very purpose of eradicating malnutrition in the Hyderabad-Karnataka (now Kalyan Karnataka) region.

The Department of Women and Child Development has not released funds for some taluks of the district for the past eight months to distribute eggs under several schemes. 

Because of which, Anganwadi workers in Kalaburagi rural constituency are forced to distribute eggs to children by spending from their own pockets. 

In Chincholi taluk, distribution of eggs has been irregular in the absence of Child Development Project Officer (CDPO).

Kalaburagi District Anganwadi Workers' Association president Gouramma Malipatil told DH that Anganwadi workers in Kalaburagi rural and Chincholi constituencies are facing a dearth of funds as the Welfare Department has not released the money to purchase eggs for distribution among severely and moderately malnourished children for the past eight months.

Also, the workers have not received their monthly salary of Rs 8,000 for the past few months. "We have been pleading with distributors to not stop supplying eggs. We have tried to convince them saying that the pending bills will be cleared once the funds are released. For how long can we spend money from our pockets?" Gouramma, an aggrieved Anganwadi worker, said.

The officials of the Department of Women and Child Development are not helping us either, she added.

Eggs are being distributed to pregnant women under the Mathru Poorna scheme. Whether there is a supply or not, pregnant women insist they be given eggs. The officials are now seeking authentication from Anganwadi workers for distributing eggs. Let them first release funds and then seek authentication. As per rules, the government should release funds in advance, she explained.

Maruthi Manpade, who was earlier associated with the Anganwadi workers' association, said, administrative failures are the main reason for the ineffective implementation of programmes launched to eradicate malnutrition in Kalyan Karnataka, the region which has a large number of malnourished children as well as mothers.

Good programmes are not being implemented due to irregularities in the tender process for supplying nutritious food and exploitation of Anganwadi workers by the officials, he alleged.

The government through Bala Vikas Committee should remit money in advance into the accounts of Anganwadi workers to purchase eggs, he said.

District Women and Child Welfare Department Deputy Director Mallikarjun Reddy said, "Funds were not released earlier due to the lack of sufficient budgetary allocation. Since the past two to three months, money is being released through the Bala Vikas Committee. The department withheld funds in some places following complaints of the irregular distribution of eggs. This issue will be addressed soon, he said.

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