The much-touted child-friendly Muvattupuzha project, an initiative mooted by Joseph Vazhakkan MLA to ensure comprehensive development of children in Muvattupuzha constituency, is in limbo, simply because of official apathy.
The project launched by the MLA last year aimed at making Muvattupuzha the first child-friendly constituency in the state. Even after a year, the project is moving at a snail’s pace, having hardly completed the primary steps.
The project was to be implemented with the technical support of the Kerala Institute of Local Administration(KILA) and the UNICEF and the support of the Education Department, local self-government institutions, Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Scheme and other NGOs.
The main aim of the project was to ensure the development of children by providing the necessary requirements such as quality education, safety and quality food. It also aimed to ensure children’s participation in the developmental activities and parliamentary activities in the constituency. The project proposed to set up ‘balasabhas’, a body of students, in all panchayat wards. Considering the inadequate basic infrastructure in schools, it was decided to open better play grounds and libraries in each ward. Special counsellors were to be appointed in all schools to tackle the mental issues of students. Safe and proper transportation, clean kitchens in schools, adequate toilet facilities were to be ensured especially in pre-primary, primary schools and Anganavadies, in the first phase.
The project was to be extended to upper primary, high school and higher secondary students in its secondary stage. Though a CDPO (Child Development Programme officer) was appointed as a special officer, the project has not progressed much, owning to the lack of an effective monitoring system and apathy of authorities.
Joseph Vazhakkan MLA said that though the project was launched with great expectations and the initial works commenced successfully, it got delayed, as a special officer went on on long leave. “A meeting of the officials to evaluate the project will be called immediately and all steps will be taken to complete the project in a time-bond manner,” he said.