SRINAGAR: The provision of free and nutritious meals to children enrolled at Anganwadi centres was issued by the government authority as part of a declared focus on improving the nutritional status of poor children. But from the last seven months, the authority has been utterly neglecting these children and, apart from rice, has not been providing any kind of supply to Anganwadi centres in Kashmir. The centres have run dry for the last seven months due to the non-availability of nutritional stock
“Seven months back, they started supplying only rice to the centres, which is not sufficient; we cannot give only rice to the students enrolled in the centres,” said a group of Anganwadi workers. “We don’t know what the reason is behind it [the stoppage of supplies], but it’s not the first time they provided us late supply or less than the full.”
As per official figures, there are 15,343 total Anganwadi centres operational in the Valley. Apart from these numbers, the state cabinet accorded sanction to the setting up of 3,361 additional Anganwadi centres, or Anganwadi-on-demand, in the state under the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) on an ad hoc basis. These are being made operational by the department.
While the stock was suspended since September across the Valley, officials say that the centres have been running dry for even longer because the department has not carried out any tendering process for purchasing the nutritional stock.
As per reports, the government is providing funds to the tune of over Rs 100 crore annually to the department for purchasing food and nutrition items for poor children in the age group of 3 to 6 years in nearly 30,000 Anganwadi centres under ICDS across J&K.