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The opposition Congress today staged a walkout in the Chhattisgarh Legislative Assembly seeking a probe into functioning of anganwadi centres in naxal-affected Sukma district. Raising the issue during Question Hour, the Congress MLA Kawasi Lakhma asked about exact number of anganwadis (the government-sponsored childcare and mothercare centers) that lack their own buildings in Konta development block and Dornapal project area which are affected by naxalism. He also sought to know about the locations from where these centres are run and who are operating them. In her reply, the Women and Child Development Minister Ramsheela Sahu said a total of 253 anganwadi centres do not have their own buildings. She said 237 of these centres are being run in rented buildings, seven in other government properties and nine in buildings under community support. The minister said anganwadi workers and assistants are operating these centres. However, Lakhma alleged that 39 anganwadis in his Konta constituency are not operational, but the money is being siphoned off in the name of rental payments by showing such defunct centres as operational. Responding to Lakhma's query on quantum of rent being paid per centre, Sahu said Rs 200 is paid for each (rented) centre. Informing that 39 centres located in hyper-sensitive areas might be non-functional, the minister assured that she will ask the officials to examine. Rejecting Lakhma's allegation, Sahu said that no payment was made for the non-functional centres. Interrupting her,Lakhma demanded an enquiry into the functioning of anganwadi centres in his area, in presence of local legislator or any responsible public representative. Supporting him, state unit Congress president and MLA Bhupesh Baghel asked whether the minister will order a probe. However, Sahu reiterated her statement that officials will examine the allegations. Unsatisfied with her reply, the Congress MLAs raised slogans accusing the state government of not beingserious in the functioning of anganwadi centres in the tribal areasand staged walkout.
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