At a time when the state government is harping on making Goa open defecation free (ODF), Orlim anganwadi in Salcete taluka has no toilet facility despite repeated requests made to the concerned authorities.
Children as young as three and five years old at the anganwadi are forced to use the panchayat office’s toilet, which according to panch members, is not only unhealthy but also unsafe for the children.
Two teachers at the anganwadi are in charge of managing over 15 children on a daily basis and they find it difficult to manage the affairs with a toilet that is located at the other end of the Portuguese-style building housing the anganwadi and the panchayat office.
Speaking to this daily, Orlim panch member Gaudencio Luis said that the health and safety of the children are at risk. “The anganwadi does not have a toilet of its own and the children are forced to use the panchayat office toilet, which is located on the other side of the building. The panchayat toilets are cleaned once in two days and these anganwadi children are very young and can get infected easily,” he said.
Apart from the lack of a toilet, the anganwadi surrounding is also a matter of concern, as used tube lights have been dumped at the back of the building where the children usually play. Discarded scooters dumped in the surrounding also pose a threat to the children’s safety.
“It is a matter of concern that broken tube lights are dumped in the open where the children run around and play. It is a threat not only to the people passing by but also to the children. The pile of tube lights has been existing at the place for more than a year now and needs to be removed,” said Luis.
Though the anganwadi has finalised a place for a toilet, the construction is yet to be undertaken. The panchayat staff said that efforts are on to construct a toilet but permission is required. “We have taken up the issue of constructing a toilet on priority, as it is an important requirement for the anganwadi. The village development committee has already put up proposals for the toilet under the 12th and 14th finance commissions but we are yet to obtain the required permissions and approvals,” said Orlim sarpanch Tamica D’Silva. The sarpanch also said that efforts are also being made to remove the tube lights dumped in the surrounding.