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36% of Anganwari centres in J&K lack drinking water facility, documents reveal

Last Updated on April 28, 2021 at 9:05 am

It has been revealed that 36 percent of the Anganwari centres in Jammu and Kashmir are functioning without basic drinking water facility. This is a worrisome matter and it raises questions over functioning of Public Health Engineering Department (PHE) in the Union Territory.

Documents reveal that out of 5136 schools, drinking water facility was made available to 4305 schools from 2013 to 2018 while remaining 831 schools were still lacking the basic facility. A similar state of affairs can be noticed in Anganwari centers too.

In last five years, only nine of these centres have been provided water drinking facility. 36% of total 556 Anganwari centres (i.e., 203) don’t have access to drinking water facility. Government authorities fixed very low targets and even these were not achieved.

Authorities informed that the Government of India stopped sanctioning funds for providing piped water supply to schools and Anganwari centers from 2016-17. Department has now prepared a fresh list of 4158 uncovered schools and forwarded this list to the Education Department. Rs 32.36 crore are expected to be sanctioned in order to provide piped water supply to all the uncovered schools.

PHE Department failed to provide drinking water facility to 1480 schools (17 per cent) out of 8966 schools and 203 Anganwari centres (36 per cent) out of 559 Anganwari centres. Government departments have shown a non-serious approach in dealing with drinking water problems faced by school children. Sources said that the Government of India stopped sanctioning further funds because executing agencies failed to do their job properly.

However, lack of basic facilities in government schools of Jammu and Kashmir is not something unheard of. ASSOCHAM has published a study listing 10 states with poor electricity supply in schools in which Jammu and Kashmir ranked fourth. The states which are at top of this list are Bihar with only 8.1% of schools having electricity, Jharkhand (12.0 %) and Assam (15.9%).

Around 6000 schools don’t have access to electricity. It was also revealed in the survey that 75 percent of schools don’t have computer labs. There are 232 schools in Jammu and Kashmir which lack toilet facility for children and out of these 232 schools, 228 are situated in Jammu region.