Anganwadi workers from Chickballapur Lok Sabha Constituency staged a protest in front of the Bangalore Zilla Panchayat office here on Friday against a government move to outsource maintenance of their day care centres to Vedanta Prathishtana, a corporate social responsibility arm of global mining company Vedanta Resources.
The workers staged the protest under the aegis of the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU).
As many as 2,635 anganwadi centres of four districts in the Lok Sabha constituency were adopted by Vedanta Prathishtana as per a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), signed between the foundation and the zilla panchayats.
Now, 1,139 anganwadis in Chickballapur district, 1,207 in Bangalore Rural district, 222 in Bangalore Urban district and 67 in Ramanagaram district are covered by the MoU, according to which the foundation is expected to run the centres without seeking any assistance from the government, providing awareness about mother and child care, slippers and uniforms for children, and training of anganwadi workers.
The workers felt that the MoU is detrimental to the development of women and children, which is the purpose of the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) programme, under which anganwadis are run.
Sponsored by the Union Government, ICDS has worked for over three decades, to tackle malnutrition and health problems in children.
Vedanta Resources has been under the scanner for alleged violation of laws of human rights and natural resources in various parts of India. “By undertaking such projects, the company is attempting to attain an image makeover,” alleged Nagamani D.R., Secretary of Karnataka Rajya Noukara Sangha (CITU).
“If the Government needs help from non-governmental organisations, it can be limited to stationery items. Handing over the entire responsibility of the development of anganwadis is not right. The government has done well to maintain and develop infrastructure, and we want it to continue with the programme,” she said.