In an example bizarre bureaucratic delays, an anganwadi worker in Davangere has not been allowed to work for nearly three months as various levels of government keep passing the buck.
“My mother worked as a Devadasi. I wanted to pursue a more dignified career,” says Netravati. Netravati, who belongs to Adi Karnataka (SC) caste, has been working as a caretaker in an anganwadi in Holasirigere village, Davangere district, for the past eight years.
Her promotion in July however, brought bad news. On July 8, she was promoted as an anganwadi worker from the role of a caretaker and appointed to an anganwadi in the neighbouring Yelehole village.
“The promotion means a lot to me. It increases my pay from Rs 3,000 to Rs 6,000. We are a poor family. My brother works as a daily-wage labourer,” says the 27-year-old.
It has been two months since the deputy commissioner’s office passed the order, but she still has not stepped into the building.
She said that the Child Development Project Officer (CDPO) Ramalinga had not formally given her the charge of the anganwadi because of opposition from villagers.
“Every week I visit the CDPO’s office, but he is either not available or the office is locked. He is not willing to listen, or let alone solve the problem,” she said.
She says that most of the people in Yelehole are Lingayats, a socially dominant caste. “All panchayat officers are also Lingayat. Panchayat members told me that the villagers want one of their own people,” she said. However, she refused to say what “one of their own” meant.
Netravati has reported this to the Superintendent of Police Bhima Shankar.
Ramalinga told The News Minute that the villagers don’t want a person from another village. They come in large numbers and force me to not give her the charge.
“They want one of their own people to be an anganwadi worker in the village. They also say the anganwadi is more than 3km away from their homes and so refuse to send their children. There is a government order to this effect and I cannot change it. Netravati has to work with the village community. If people don’t accept her, how will she be able to work?” he asked.
It has since remained closed and the children go to two other anganwadis in the same village.
Ramalinga has approached the Deputy Commissioner for a solution, however he hasn’t been able to get one as the officer has been busy.
Netravati has been working as a daily-wager to make ends meet, however, she hopes that the issue is sorted and she gets back to work soon.
The Deputy Commissioner did not answer The News Minute’s calls.