It may come as a pleasant surprise for children studying in anganwadis in Navi Mumbai to know that the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) will be giving them various useful items they can use in school. The sad part however, is that the proposal was only placed before the Standing Committee for approval yesterday, which is four months since the session started at the anganwadis. To further add to the delay, the items will ultimately reach the anganwadis students sometime in January 2013, when the session would be ending in barely three months.
Then, the distribution task will start all over again when the new session begins in June 2013.
In January 2012, the general body had given approval to the planning department to use some amount to purchase a school bag, lunchbox, water bottle, slate and pencil box for each of these students from the Rs 5 crore allotted for the Anganwadi Vision Project. However, alleged lethargy on the part of the planning department officials has led to delays and the project has not yet taken off.
The plan to distribute items was discussed in January this year and the task was supposed to be completed in or before June, which is when the new session begins each year. However, the concerned officials claim that since this is the first time they are initiating the scheme, they are facing problems.
The proposal for purchasing these items was approved yesterday, but the items will reach the students in January 2013 and only serve the students of the current session for around three months.
The company awarded the contract to purchase and distribute the items at various anganwadis in Navi Mumbai is expected to take a minimum of two to three months to complete the task.
Santosh Shetty, a standing committee member, said, “The planning department has brought the proposal four months after the school session has commenced. Now the contractor will only be able to distribute the school items in January. What is the purpose of distributing these items when there will barely be three months to go before the session ends?”
Vaibhav Gaikwad, another standing committee member, said “How can the planning department bring in the proposal when four of nine months of the school session has passed? It shows there is a dearth of planning in the department. The lethargic attitude of the department officials is certainly going to affect the anganwadi children.”
N N Alhat, deputy municipal commissioner for planning expressed his apologies to the standing committee for the delay.
“Since we are conducting the project for the first time, we were constantly corresponding with the Integrated Child Development Services department for every small detail. Also, we had to carry out a survey of anganwadis in Navi Mumbai limit and study the requirements. In addition, there was a code of conduct due to the election of graduate constituency for over one month. All this led to the delay in bringing the proposal to the standing committee members.
NMMC to spend Rs 30.52 lakh
Cost of a set of school items is Rs 432 and cost of a single blackboard is Rs 2,115. NMMC will be spending Rs 27.65 lakh for the purchase of 6,401 sets of school items for the same number of children. In addition, Rs 2.87 lakh will be spent on purchase of 136 blackboards for 136 anganwadis in the city limits. The NMMC has given the contract to a company known as Redstar at the cost of Rs 30.52 lakh.