HYDERABAD: More than 30 children and a lone teacher in a small room that looks akin to a grocery store — the anganwadi centre that functions right at the heart of the city can be described as such in one line. The dimly-lit room with no ventilation, power supply or drinking water facility doubles as the kitchen wherein ‘nutritious food’ is prepared for pregnant women and lactating mothers.
This is the anganwadi centre in Ameerpet wherein children aged between two and six are sent by their parents for pre-school education every morning. It is only one of the 35,000 centres the government runs across the State.
While the kids sit extremely close to one another in the dark room, the food would be getting cooked right adjacent to them.
According to G Venkata Lakshmi, the teacher at the centre, the State had allocated 500 square yards of land and a dilapidated single-room structure to run the anganwadi. “Locals from the neighbourhood have constructed a tin-roof shed outside the building and parks vehicles there. There is no space for the kids to play. Our complaints have mostly gone in vain,” Lakshmi says. She laments that with no toilets, the children are forced to defecate out in the open.
According to V Ramulu, Regional Joint Director of Woman Development and Child Welfare, power supply is the GHMC’s responsibility and not theirs. “But we will take assistance from the revenue department and demolish the illegal sheds soon,” he claims. Social activist B Nagaraju says they are ready to crowd-fund and construct a toilet if the illegal structures are removed.