Odisha activists press for anganwadi wall collapse probe


Bhubaneswar : Activists Monday stepped up demand for a probe into the death of seven children in a day-care centre in Odisha and asked the government to punish the erring district officials.

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The wall of an ‘anganwadi’ (day-care) centre collapsed in Suansia village in Nayagarh district, about 90 km from here, July 9. Three children were buried alive while four others died of their injuries in a hospital.

Accusing the government of not taking action against higher officials responsible for the incident, hundreds of activists of various organisations marched in a procession in state capital Bhubaneswar and shouted anti-government slogans. They also held a protest meeting near the state assembly.

“The government has suspended a few lower cadre employees, but is yet to act against district level officials whose neglect led to the tragic incident,” Ranjan Mohanty, a child rights activist who participated in the protest, told IANS.

“The state has a large number of anganwadi centres, which are running in dilapidated houses and buildings. They should be immediately identified and children should be moved to safer places. Such dilapidated houses should be replaced with good houses as soon as possible,” he added.

The government suspended two anganwadi workers and the headmistress of a school and ordered an administrative probe in the wall collapse. It also announced a compensation of Rs.1 lakh for each of the families of those killed.

Activists said the government should provide a compensation of at least Rs.10 lakh to each of the families of those killed. They also demanded a high-level impartial probe as senior administrative officials are responsible for such neglect.

The state has about 71,000 anganwadi centres and more than half of them do not have their own buildings. At these centres, the government provides early childhood care and pre-school education.