NHRC finds anganwadi food substandard

Kendrapara: NHRC has found that the food supplied in anganwadis and government-run primary schools in Kendrapara district was substandard, their sanitation condition “pathetic” and has sought an action-taken-report from the district administration.

An NHRC team had during field inspection detected the presence of insects in uncooked food grains earmarked for cooking food for children.

The rights panel also expressed deep concern over the poor sanitation in the government-run schools and Anganwadi centres.

A three-member team of the rights panel during its inspection of schools, angawadi centres and district headquarters hospital on November 11 last year had found the sanitation standard abysmally poor.

“The sanitation condition was pathetic in schools as well as in the hospital. There is no power supply in the schools.

The raw food grains in institutions where children are served cooked food had insects in it. Majority of anganwadi centres are running on pen and paper only and are defunct for all practical purpose,” mentioned the NHRC report received by the district administration recently.

In most of the schools toilets are not serving the purpose for which these were built. It was found that the school authorities kept them locked, it said.

The report said as schools are bereft of service of ‘safai’ workers, children in primary schools are being made to do the sanitation work.

In majority of schools, there was no provision of separate toilets for girl students, it said.

The panel in its report also mentioned inconsistencies in engagement of cooks in schools and anganwadi centres. Cooks from upper caste were engaged in school kitchens while applications of Dalits and destitute women were not prioritized as per the MDM standing guidelines.

Kendrapara district collector Debraj Senapati said yesterday “departmental inquiries were conducted after the NHRC report was received. Discrepancies as detected by NHRC are being set right. The administration would shortly comply on an action -taken-report to the national rights’ panel”.

Kendrapara has a total 1,600 anganwadi centres with 1.22 lakh children enrolled in them. There are nearly 1200 government-run primary schools in Kendrapara district with 1.2 lakh roll strength, district officials said.