In June last year, the Gurgaon district administration inaugurated a ‘baby daycare centre’ at the city’s Mini Secretariat. Touted to be the first of its kind in the state, it included facilities such as a baby feeding area, a toys section, and a diaper change corner. Set up at a cost of Rs 3 lakh in conjunction with the Power Grid Corporation, as a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) project, the facility was meant to cater to the children of employees at the Secretariat, as well as visitors looking for a place to drop off their children as they completed their work in the building.
Almost seven months later, however, the centre lies defunct. Shifted from its original location — a spacious room on the Secretariat’s first floor, which has since been converted into a gymnasium under the Fit India movement — the facility now lies in a smaller room in the Haryana Khadi and Village Industries Board office, bearing an abandoned look.
Apart from a wallpaper adorned with cartoons of different animals, and a ‘Baby Day Care Centre’ board opposite the entrance, there is little else to indicate the room’s purpose.
With cartons stacked in one corner and books dumped on a bookshelf, the facility still seems to be in a state of transition more than two months since it was allotted its new location.
There is also no caretaker. Sources involved in the set up and operation of the facility said although a caretaker was to be allotted for the daycare, it was never done. “At first, there was a plan to appoint someone new… Then, it was decided that an experienced person should instead be allotted, like an anganwadi worker. However, the process got delayed with the shifting of the daycare,” said a source.
Now, the daycare centre is only available for children accompanied by guardians, or for women looking for a private space to feed their children. With no signages or advertising, however, employees and visitors seem to be unaware of its existence.
An employee working in a department adjoining the gym— where the daycare centre earlier stood— was under the impression the facility had been shut. On condition of anonymity, she said, “It was not used at all, so they replaced it with a gym.”
City Magistrate Manisha Sharma said measures are being taken to improve the centre: “As of now, we are using it as a space where women can feed their children. We are also working on hiring an attendant. It needs to be a qualified person, so we have already requested Red Cross and other agencies for someone.”
“To increase awareness, we have already ordered some boards to be put up, which we expect will arrive by the end of the week,” she added.
Gurgaon Deputy Commissioner Amit Khatri said the matter would be looked into: “We will definitely look to improve the facility. If some investment has been made, it is our endeavour to ensure it is used.”
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