40 per cent of the care centres in Nashik lack concrete structures within which to conduct their activities or store food and commodities
It is not just food and commodities that are conspicuously absent in thousands of Nashik's ailing anganwadi centres, but also space, in which the impoverished children can eat, sleep, study or play.
Infrastructural inadequacies seem to be plaguing the system, right to its core.
According to a report published by the Zilla Parishad last August, there are 4,776 anganwadis distributed across its length and breath.
1,982 of these centres do not have concrete structures, as a result of which they often have to conduct their activities within borrowed premises: primary schools, temples, gyms, society temples, libraries and even rented spaces.
There are some, which conduct activities out in the open, with the children exposed to the elements. So much for the anganwadi centres being safe, protected havens for the disadvantaged.
"The child development programme has been functioning for 4-5years, under which the anganwadi centres operate. But most of them lack the four walls and the roof, within which to serve their functions.
Two years ago, we sent a proposal to the government requesting that money be sanctioned for infrastructural development. We have only just been granted the same.
Although the sum falls short of our requirement, we have started work.
We want to build reinforced cement concrete (RCC) structures, though it is difficult to do so within the allocated sum of Rs 4 lakh per structure," said Sangita Patil, chairman of the Women and Child Welfare Committee of the Zilla Parishad.
According to report, the government had earlier sanctioned Rs 19.8 crore, which was used to construct 133 anganwadi centres in remote parts of the district.
Nashik's collector P Veliasu said, "We hope to continue building these anganwadi centres. There are over 3,000 anganwadi centres in the tribal areas which lack proper concrete structures."
He added, "I have inspected many of the centres, and found that there is no place to store food, furniture, or commodities like toys.
The Zilla Parishad had drawn up a list of villages where these centres were lacking, but we insisted that they be opened in villages where malnutrition is endemic."
The number of centres that lack concrete structures
The number of total anganwadis in Nashik