After 7 deaths, govt seeks data on AWCs

Bhubaneswar: The tragic loss of seven young lives due to wall collapse at an anganwadi centre in Nayagarh district has exposed the lurking dangers posed by dilapidated school building to the non-suspecting kids. The heart-rending wails of the grieving mothers who lost their dear ones in this tragic incident have left many in a state of utter shock.

One can easily sense strong public revulsion against the authorities as this particular tragedy unfolded due to sheer negligence of the authorities who turned a blind eye to the prior warnings. As per the local MLA Satya Narayan Pradhan, the building (where the walls caved in) was already declared unsafe and it’s thus inexplicable how the kids walked into a death trap without anyone taking prior notice. The silence of the Nayagarh authorities is deafening.

The government has placed the headmistress of the school and two anganwadi workers under suspension. But are they the only ones to be blamed for the utter callousness which snuffed out seven precious lives? The tiny tots were buried under the rubble. Three kids died instantly and four more could not survive after being rushed to different hospitals in the state capital.

The state government has now woken up to compile information on the physical state of the anganwadi centres in the entire state. According to sources, the women and child development secretary has written to all district collectors to furnish data on the anganwandi centres by July 13. Similarly, school and mass education minister Pratap Jena has issued directions so that such tragedies are not repeated again. The government, as usual, has swung into action promptly to contain the adverse fallout.

This tragedy cannot be brushed aside as an isolated incident. This tragedy may inhibit parents in rural areas to send their children to the schools. This may have a ripple effect. The government has to pull out all stops so that such an avoidable tragedy does not recur again in Odisha.