The poor condition of anganwadis figured prominently at the Greater Chennai Corporation Council meeting.
Anganwadis, part of the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS), are centres that promote the holistic development of children.
“Three out of seven anganwadis in my ward (107) have been unusable because of loose power cables and rats for the past nine months and we have brought this up in zonal meetings”, said Kiran Sharmilee, councillor of the ward, who raised the issue at the Council meeting on Wednesday. These three anganwadis cater to almost 100 children between the ages of two and three.
“We use our personal money to fix the lights and toilet facilities and seal the holes with cement but the rats make their way through in no time”, Ms. Sharmilee said. She said the Mayor had said that the estimates would be drawn up for the anganwadis and hopefully work would begin by March.
An anganwadi on Seniamman Kovil Street in Ward 42 of Tondiarpet is infested with rats. The locals say the problems began eight years ago. Steps had not been taken to improve the condition on the premises. “During the election period, people take interest. We somehow manage to work with poor toilet conditions,” said a source.
Renuka, councillor of the ward, said she was using some of her Councillor’s Fund towards maintaining and improving two anganwadis. The councillors had remarked that attendance was affected by the poor conditions.
According to an official from ICDS, there are 1,806 anganwadi centres in Chennai catering to around 32,850 children between the ages of two and five. “Each child is profiled to track its progress with monthly themes such as animals and vegetables taught to them,” said the official.