Anganwadi workers in Karnataka have refused to accept the saris offered by the state as they did not like the design and said it looked more like a government banner. The saris were distributed to ensure the successful roll-out of the Prime Minister's overarching programme 'Poshan Abhiyaan (National Nutrition Mission).
Over 2.5 lakh saris worth around ₹10 crores lie in warehouses across the state. The saris were supposed to be offered as uniforms to one lakh anganwadi workers, who are at the forefront of implementing the 'Poshan Abhiyaan', conceived to improve nutritional aspects in kids, pregnant women and lactating mothers.
As part of the Abhiyaan, all anganwadi workers and their assistants at 62,580 centres and 3,331 mini anganwadis were supposed to be provided two saris each from Karnataka women and child development (WCD) officials, The Times of India reported.
After finalising the colour, quality and design, a statewide tender was floated to procure saris, with the price per sari being ₹385.7. Seven months ago, the government purchased over 2.5 lakh saris at the cost of ₹9.9 crores.
'Sari Resembles A Govt Banner'
The women alleged that the saris have the words 'Poshan Abhiyaan' printed in bold in Kannada on the border. Also, the floral pattern on the sari has the programme's logo all over, and it resembles a government banner.
"We feel awkward wearing them," an anganwadi worker said, according to The Times of India.
Govt Trying To Find A Solution
Though WCD officials in the districts are trying to convince them to wear these saris, there is strong resistance. K Somashekar Yadgir, AIDSO state president of Anganwadi-Asha workers union, said the saris were initially distributed to workers in nearly 12-13 districts.
"However, after one look at the design, they returned it immediately. In all those districts, saris were returned to the child development project officer's (CDPO) office," said S Varalakshmi, state president, Karnataka Anganwadi Workers Association.
"We have made it clear to the department and government that we will not wear saris with the programme's name printed on them. Do they think of us as advertisement walls to display government programmes? We will wear them if they give us plain saris, not otherwise," Varalakshmi added.
WCD director Priyanka Mary Francis said that the saris were ordered once the design and colour were finalised.
"The government has already bought them, and there is no other way than to use them. Also, workers have to wear saris only on specific days when they visit beneficiaries in villages," Francis said.
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