Delhi Sizzles, But Anganwadi Centres Remain Open


Concerns raised over children’s health in the face of official apathy

Mohammad Alamullah | Clarion India

NEW DELHI – Despite the severe heatwave currently sweeping across the state, Anganwadi centres in the national capital remain open, with children aged three to six attending them regularly. This is in stark contrast to schools and offices, which have been ordered closed to protect individuals due to extreme temperatures.

Priya, a representative of the Anganwadi Union, expressed her concerns to Clarion India. “Delhi is reeling under the hot sun. Several People have even lost their lives. Despite these severe conditions, there are no holidays for Anganwadi workers and children here. No one has any intention of temporarily closing the Anganwadi centres. Children have to call them every day. The same thing happens in winter too. Even when it is very cold, no holidays are given.”

The situation at the Anganwadi centres is dire. Children, many from slum areas, are required to sit on the floor in the absence of the required number of chairs. There is no provision of water or medical facilities, and the children’s clothing is often not suitable for the hot weather, increasing the risk of heatstroke. “If you call children even in this weather, then who will take responsibility for it if someone faces any problem? No government says or thinks anything about this,” Priya added.

An anonymous Anganwadi worker shared similar frustration, highlighting that despite repeated requests to departmental officials, no action has been taken. “All schools and institutions are closed at this time. Everyone is on vacation. So Anganwadi workers should also get a holiday. We have said this so many times. Most of the children are from poor and slum areas. The government should think more about them.”

The worker explained that they have been consistently advocating for summer and winter holidays for Anganwadi centres, similar to schools, due to the vulnerability of the children. “Our union has been demanding for a long time that Anganwadis should get summer and winter holidays because little children also come here. On one hand, the government says that Anganwadi workers are volunteers. But all the work is done which a government employee does. The worker gets 12,000 and the helper gets 6,000 rupees.”

Despite the challenging conditions, Anganwadi workers continue to perform their duties diligently, often using their own money to provide essential items to the children. “Anganwadi workers are responsible for the children. They fulfill their responsibility very well. Many a time they bring essential things for children with their own money,” Priya emphasised.

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