Bhubaneswar , 18/3 ( Odisha Samachar/Abhisek Mohanty) : The ICDS programme is being implemented in Odisha with the mandate to check Child malnutrition, Infant Mortality rate, Maternal Mortality Rate by providing nutritious food to the children, pregnant and lactating women. Despite a number of circulars being issued and huge fund sanctioned, implementation of ICDS programme has been disastrous in the state. Huge corruption, delay in release of fund, low quality of food, poor monitoring and callous attitude of officials has made the programme standstill in remote pockets of tribal areas of the state where malnutrition is high. This has been exposed through RTI and number of social audits conducted in different parts of the state, said State Convener of Right to Food Campaign, Odisha Pradip Pradhan at a press conference here today.
To ensure food and nutrition security & check malnutrition among mothers, children, and adolescents and to bring disadvantaged senior citizens into safety nets, ICDS was in force in Odisha. Apart, government takes pride of such programs but the reality is very different. Approximately 75 percent Anganwadi Centers (AWCs) have no buildings and other requires infrastructures of their own. Odisha is in need of 71,306 numbers of AW center buildings, but we have only 18, 958 number of own buildings, that to not in proper condition and appropriate standards. During last 4 years though it was planned budget of Rs. 578.11 crore, the district collectors have not produced the UCs yet. Most of the centers are running under trees, other’s verandah/house or in the open field in very unhealthy surroundings. Funds are being disbursed to AWCs at an interval of 4-6 months freezing operation at the cost of the workers, Pradhan informed.
In such a situation, there is a need to disburse funds ahead of every calendar month to the AWCs, enforce and activate Mother’s Committee and Monitoring Committee at each AW level according to government circular (of 28/3/2012), conduct Review meeting at Panchayat level every month in the presence of AW Worker and Helper, improve quality and ensure quantity of Take Home Ration packets ( supplementary Nutrition Packets) and its hygienic production process, ensure emergency feeding program for all the 200,000 senior citizens in 8 districts including backward districts like Balangir, Nuapada, Kalahandi, Obey Supreme Court order to conduct Social Audits in every AWCs regularly, engage civil society in monitoring, committee formation at district and block level and monitoring of that, said Tapan Padhi of Right to Food Campaign. He added that the State Government must take steps to train the PRI representatives and reduce the workload of AWWs and train them properly to run the centers within their job description, said