Children, pregnant women worst-hit as strike by anganwadi workers continues in Andhra Pradesh

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A locked anganwadi centre in Vijayawada on Tuesday.

A locked anganwadi centre in Vijayawada on Tuesday.
| Photo Credit: K.V.S. GIRI

Thousands of pre-school children at the anganwadi centres went without food for the eighth day on Tuesday as the centres remained closed following the State-wide strike by the workers in support of their demands.

There was no nutritious diet either for the pregnant and lactating women who had enrolled themselves at the anganwadi centres.

According to official sources, about 30 lakh women and children are being provided nutritious diet under 257 ICDS projects at 55,607 anganwadi centres.

The government is implementing the ‘YSR Sampoorna Poshana’ and ‘YSR Sampoorna Poshana Plus’ (in tribal areas) and Take Home Ration (THR) to check malnutrition among pregnant and lactating women, and children.

“The government is providing 3 kg rice, 25 eggs, 1 kg dal, 2 kg multi-grain flour, 5 litres milk, 500-ml oil, 500 grams groundnuts, 500 grams dry dates, 1 kg ragi flour and 500 grams of jaggery every month under YSR Sampoorna Poshana Plus,” says Madhavi, a pregnant woman. The scheme is being implemented in 77 tribal mandals in the State.

Under Take Home Ration, 2.5 kg ‘Balamrutam’, 30 eggs and six litres of milk are being provided to children aged between 7 months and three years.

“For children aged between three and six years, the meal that is served includes rice, dal, milk and egg every day,” says Lavanya, who used to bring her child daily to the pre-school.

“Many children and pregnant women, who are from the BPL segment and cannot afford to have a nutritious diet, have enrolled themselves in the anganwadi centres as the government is supplying quality food to them,” says another beneficiary Adi Lakshmi.

On Tuesday, many anganwadi centres were found locked in Krishna and NTR districts. Though the secretariat staff opened the centres in a few areas, there were no children. Some centres were found having more than two locks as the agitating workers, secretariat employees and house owners locked them up.

Officials said that 55,000 pre-schools were opened on the day and meals served to the students.

As many as 55,514 anganwadi centres functioned, and about one lakh students were served food, a Women Development and Child Welfare officer told The Hindu.

“We have opened the anganwadi centre as per the instructions of the officials, but we don’t know the details of the children. The parents are not willing to bring their wards to the pre-schools in absence of ayahs,” said a member of the Mahila Police in Vijayawada.

“The Self Help Groups (SHGs) have been asked to coordinate with the Sachivalayam staff for providing cooked meals to the children. But only one or two children are present. We cannot supply food for one child,” said a Women Development and Child Welfare Department officer.

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