The Chawni Jan Adhikar Manch (CJAM) — formed by a group of non-government organisation (NGOs) — has been continuously writing to the government from 2012 onwards to get the anganwadis approved, but they too have failed to attract the government’s attention.
Aurangabad Cantonment is one of the six cantonments in the state that does not have anganwadi centres (AWC). Dehu Road Cantonment in Pune is the only cantonment in the state to get 35 anganwadis.
“According to the ICDS scheme, there should be one AWC for every 400-800 population. However, the Aurangabad Cantonment with 25,000 registered voters in its seven wards does not have a single centre,” said Laxman Deshmukh of CJAM.
Social activist and medical officer Nazema Patel said the AWC sees to it that the fundamental care is given to women and children. “It covers immunisation, supplementary nutrition, health check-up, referral services, pre-school non-formal education, nutrition and health information,” he said.
In a survey conducted by the CJAM in 2014 across the Aurangabad Cantonment, it was revealed that 13% of children below 6 years of age were malnourished. The results were shared with key government officials, but the residents continue to be deprived of AWCs.
The CJAM had obtained the no-objection certificate (NOC) from the Aurangabad Cantonment Board thrice for establishing the AWCs. The Board proposed 35 anganwadis considering its population.
“In March of 2012, the state government approved as many as 18 anganwadis following a survey of the area and sent it for the approval to the Central government in the same month,” an RTI by CJAM confirmed.
However, since then there has been no development on this front. Child development project officer Reshma Chimandre told TOI that state has sent the proposal to the Central government that will take a final decision on establishing anganwadis.
For the setup and operations of anganwadi centres, 50% of the cost is borne by the Centre and 25% each by the state government and urban local body.
Social activists have met various government officials in the women and child welfare department, WCD minister Pankaja Mundhe, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis several times apart from staging multiple agitations for the AWCs, but to no avail.
During the UPA government, erstwhile minister of state for defence Pallam Raju had directed former chief minister Ashok Chavan to extend all benefits of welfare schemes by the government to the residents of Cantonment area.