BALASORE: At Gudugudia anganwadi centre, eggs are hardly given in the lunch to children flouting new guidelines of the Government that egg curry must be served to the students in the age group of three to six years thrice a week. In case of pregnant and lactating women, eggs are served once in two months.
There is no permanent anganwadi worker in the centre since October, 2013. Sabitri Pingua, the anganwadi worker in Kumari centre, has been given the additional responsibility of looking after Gudugudia centre.
At Kolha anganwadi centre, 20 children are enrolled but they are not served breakfast. Here, the anganwadi worker comes to the centre two to three times in a month. A helper is the only person to look after the centre, but with no financial power.
At Badauski anganwadi centre, ‘chatua’ (powder of cereals) is served once in two months. Since last three months, pregnant and lactating women have not received their share of food while supply of eggs is irregular.
All these three anganwadi centres come under the jurisdiction of Similipal Biosphere area. The claims of the State Government on implementation of Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) scheme seems to have fallen flat in this part of Mayurbhanj district with most of the children in Similipal deprived of their entitlements.
Similipal Biosphere Reserve is one of the biggest sanctuaries in the country. There is no proper road communication to the villages under the sanctuary limits. Most of the villagers are illiterate and the schools remain closed for months together. Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) in the district is highest in the State.
Sources said there is no pre-school facility for children in any centre. As per ICDS guidelines, transparency should be maintained in respect of services provided to the beneficiaries and documents made available in public domain. But neither documents are available nor display boards are put up at the centres.
Sarpanch of Barehipani panchayat Amita Ho said children of Barsia, Chakundakacha and Gaiduba are not going to the anganwadi centre due to long distance. “Breakfast is not given to children in any of the centres,” she said, suggesting opening of mini centres in these areas.
In some centres, anganwadi workers and helpers have not been paid salary for six months. The fund for food under Supplementary Nutrition Programme is released to the centres in four to six months. The delay has forced them to stop cooking or prepare poor quality food.Recently, a three-member team of Right to Food Campaign, a State-level forum of Civil Society Groups working on Right to Food led by Pradip Pradhan visited Similipal Biosphere to assess the implementation of ICDS scheme.
The team found only green coloured packets of ‘chatua’, meant for pregnant and lactating women, distributed to beneficiaries in all the villages. The yellow coloured packet of ‘chatua’ meant for children was not found anywhere.
Meanwhile, the State Commission for Protection of Child Rights has sought a report from the district officials in this regard. Additional District Social Welfare officer, Gadadhar Pati, said the CDPO of Jashipur had been asked to submit a report by end of this month.