The Odisha government on Thursday directed all the district Collectors to set up Anganwadi centres (AWC) in government primary schools premises.
Expressing concerns over the operation of a large number of Anganwadi centres in rented houses/community halls, the Principal Secretary of Women and Child Development department Anu Garg directed all district Collectors to construct the Anganwadi centres in the government-run primary schools.
In her letter, Garg highlighted the issue and reiterated that due to functional linkage of Anganwadi Centres and primary school, construction of AWCs building of a village will be done, as far as possible, inside of the premises of Govt. Primary School of the said village.
However, as per the latest reports received, some problems have arisen in the functioning of Anganwadi Centres within the school premises. Hence, the following instructions should be scrupulously followed for the purpose, the letter read.
The letter further read that it is a Government policy that AWCs should be co-located in the Government schools as far as possible. The concerned BDO must encourage the construction of buildings in school premises and take construction on priority.
Further, she stated that a large number of primary schools are closed down due to mergers owing to the inadequate number of children and as these school buildings are in good condition with the provision of drinking water, toilets, and kitchen sheds, which may be used as AWCs on a priority basis. Hence, it is instructed to constitute a committee under the chairpersonship of Sub-Collector and decide modalities to use these types of primary school as AWCs.
Specifying the issue of the functioning of Anganwadi Centres in rented houses, she stated that Anganwadi Centres shall be permitted to function in Primary Schools of the village with the availability of extra classrooms or space.
Garg strictly notified that no Anganwadi Centre should function on the veranda of the school premises, and under any circumstances. However, the timings can be adjusted locally in view of the prevailing COVID-19 situation. She further stated that the toilets of school buildings shall be opened and made available for use by the children of the AWC.
Garg in her letter has requested the concerned officials to instruct the district/block-level authorities to take effective measures for the construction and smooth functioning of AWCs within the school premises immediately.