Rotten Eggs, some with worms Served to Children & Pregnant Women at Anganwadi Centres across State, including Dakshina Kannada
Mangaluru: After complaints were received from across Hassan, Kodagu, Haveri and other districts in the state, and now including Dakshina Kannada a Few days ago, Pregnant women at an Anganwadi centre at Holenarasipura taluk in Hassan district were shocked to see a black egg yolk. In what seems to be a recent statewide trend, pregnant women and children in different districts of Karnataka were allegedly supplied with rotten eggs. The eggs are supplied under the integrated child development programme which comes under the Women and Child Development department.
As M S Archana, the director of the Women and Child Development department, said, “I have sought a report from the districts where rotten eggs were served. Usually, the tendering happens at the taluk level. We will investigate the matter and check where the problem is. If the contractors are found to be guilty, we will take stringent action against them.”
According to government officials, the rotten eggs were supplied by different contractors in different districts after securing tenders. The tenders were called in February this year ahead of the Assembly election, but the work orders were issued only in June and the supply of eggs began in July through the Anganwadi centres. It is now found that the contractors have supplied poor-quality eggs and this appears to be the case in all the districts of Karnataka. A veterinary doctor who inspected the quality of the eggs found that they were either already old or could have gone bad because of poor storage infrastructure.
A mother and her child in a remote village in Dakshina Kannada discovered a foul smell while boiling the eggs. “When I split open the egg, I found that the inside had turned black. Imagine what would have happened if I had consumed it or given it to my child. Our lives are being put at risk,” said the mother. From March 2022, Anganwadi centres in Dakshina Kannada were all set to serve hot meals, milk and eggs to children, pregnant women and lactating mothers. During the Covid -19 pandemic dry ration used to be given to every child to be taken home, but from March 2022, no take-home ration or eggs. Instead, all, including pregnant and lactating women, were required to visit nearby Anganwadi centres where nutritional food was served to them.
The DK district has about 2,108 Anganwadi centres, 4,196 Anganwadi workers and 1.87 lakh beneficiaries, including pregnant and lactating women under the scheme. Those who don’t consume eggs are given varieties of sprouts. Having noted the current situation, Women and Child Welfare Minister and Udupi District Minister In-Charge Lakshmi Hebbalkar has said that the contractor may be blacklisted and a fresh tender would be floated for eggs at a lower cost and stringent action will be taken against the contractors for supplying eggs with worms”.