Anganwadi workers are planning statewide protests to demand that the government shorten the working hours of Anganwadis. The workers blamed the state government of ignoring the health of children when it decided to keep anganwadi centres (AWCs) open till 4 pm two years ago.
K V Bhat, president of the Karnataka State Samyukta Anganwadi Workers Association, provided details of the agitation plan at a press conference here on Monday. Anganwadi workers belonging to four associations will march from the City Railway Station to the Freedom Park on November 19 to draw the government’s attention to the problems caused by the extended working hours, he said. While anganwadis in other parts of the country usually work between 9 to 1.30 am, those in the state are open till 4 pm. Bhat claimed this was causing many problems for both the children and the staff. “Even after 4 pm, we have to spend about two hours for related works. We have approached both state and Central governments but no action has been taken. How can we force children to stay and sleep in dark rooms till 4 pm everyday?” he said. Bhat also pointed out that most anganwadis lack basic amenities such as toilets.
“Our students are of different ages. They do not get proper nutrition. This is harming the children but the government does not see this. If you keep children who are aged between three and six years till 4 pm in anganwadis, what will happen to them?,” said Vijaylakshmi, an association member.
Demonstrations will be held across the state in concert with the march in Bangalore on November 19. The workers will also submit petitions to the Chief Minister.