Is ICDS inching towards failure?
Anganwadi centres in Shopian, Pulwama without food items, ingredients
Pulwama/Shopian: Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) has once again come under severe criticism as the Anganwadi centres in the twin districts of South Kashmir are not being sent required food items and ingredients, thus no distribution of nutrition, food items is being made among children from last two years.
Pertinently, the Supreme Court a few days ago slapped fine on few States including Jammu and Kashmir over mid day meal scheme.
However, in twin districts of South Kashmir including Pulwama and Shopian, the Anganwadi centres are without food items and ingredients required to prepare the mid day meals.
Sources within ICDS in district Pulwama informed ‘Kashmir Vision’ that thousands of quintals of rice were supplied to Anganwadi centres under wheat based nutrition programme during last two years but they are rotting as other ingredients required to make recipes are not available.
“In Shopian district they receive rice twice from last two years but due to unavailability of other ingredients, they were forced to distribute dry rice among children,” said the officials.
A supervisor of the department on condition of anonymity said that 3600 quintals of rice were supplied to 1200 Anganwadi centres in Pulwama and each centre received three quintals for preparing mid day meals for children before two years, however, other ingredients required for making the recipe were not supplied and helpers were asked to stop cooking the rice till these items are received.
Two years elapsed but they have received no communication from higher authorities regarding utilization of the rice, she said.
An Anganwadi helper from Kakapora belt of Pulwama district said that from the last two years, she has been sun-drying the rice every week to prevent it from getting infested, but it has started to rot and authorities must take it back as it is still fit for consumption now.
“We have brought this issue into the notice of our officers several times but so far no decision has been taken and 3600 quintals are rotting,” she said.
A worker from Pampore area said that from last six months concerned authorities have been saying that they will get the stock within 2 to 3 days however, so far it seems all wrong.
A helper from Chitragam area of Shopian said that every centre received one quintal rice last year however, other ingredients weren’t given to them, due to which they distributed dry rice among the children.
Helpers and workers have been repeatedly meeting higher ups regarding this issue however, so far nothing has been done, she said while adding that children have stopped to visit the centres.
Programme officer ICDS for Pulwama Mohammad Ahsan Mir said that from past one year they were not able to find a suitable supplier for supplying ingredients like edible oil, turmeric powder and pulses to them, required for preparing the meals.
Now, they have signed a contract with a supplier and received the first supply from the contractor and hopefully distribution will start within a weeks time, he said.
Additional Deputy Commissioner Shopian, Shabir Ahmed said that last year, it got delayed because of non fixation of rate contract .
“Rates have been fixed and contract has been signed this year and some items have been received,” he said, adding that “more items will be received soon and distribution process will start next week.”