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The Hindu
The Hindu
Jayanth R.

Anganwadi workers seek revision in schedule across Karnataka as heat keeps many children away

As attendance has declined in anganwadis owing to the intense heat, anganwadi workers have urged the State government to revise the functioning hours from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. in all districts, like the way it is being done in the eight districts of north Karnataka, including Kalaburagi and Raichur, during summer.

“We have to work in anganwadis from 9.30 a.m to 4 p.m. However, this year, the temperature in all the districts has increased. A total of 22 children are enrolled in our anganwadi and only around nine are attending regularly. In addition, anganwadi workers are also suffering. The timings of anganwadis should be revised temporarily,” said an anganwadi worker from Ramanagara district.

After a drought-hit year, the day temperature has crossed 43 degrees Celsius in many districts of North Karnataka. So the government issued a caution notice in many districts about the possibilities of heatwave and heatstroke. In addition, the government temporarily revised the schedule of anganwadis in Kalaburagi, Ballari, Yadgir, Koppal, Raichur, Bidar, Vijayapura, and Bagalkot districts from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. in April and May.

“Parents are hesitating to send their children to anganwadis due to intense heat. Hence, the number of children in anganwadis has declined. Anganwadis are running in many places in North Karnataka in tin sheds and there is no fan facility,” said an anganwadi worker from Belagavi district.

“Children are finding it difficult to sit in the anganwadis from morning to evening owing to the scorching heat. The fan is not even usable owing to inadequate power supply. Children are being served uppittu for lunch. Due to this, many children are suffering from indigestion, dysentery, and other stomach problems. Parents are urging us not to give uppittu in the summer. However, we cannot violate the government rules. So, the government should immediately change the timings of anganwadis or declare a month’s holiday,” demanded Vishalakshi, an anganwadi worker from Mysuru district.

S. Varalakshmi, president of the Karnataka State Anganwadi Employees’ Association, said: “Anganwadi children and workers across the State are suffering from the high temperature this year. A child fell ill at the anganwadi centre in Dasenahalli village of Madhugiri taluk, Tumakuru district and the parents filed a police complaint against the anganwadi worker and assistant. The anganwadi workers are being punished unnecessarily. Just as the State government revised the schedule of anganwadis in North Karnataka, the timings of anganwadis should be changed in all districts across the State.”

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