The Pune Zilla Parishad has asked the state and Pune transport bodies to donate buses no longer in service or scrapped vehicles, so as to turn them into mobile anganwadis. Ayush Prasad, chief executive officer (CEO) of Pune ZP, said such mobile anganwadis would be used to fill the gap and provide services to migratory communities on the move.
Scrapping of buses is a regular feature for both Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) as well as Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Limited (PMPML). These buses are auctioned off to scrap dealers. Prasad, while speaking to The Indian Express, said the transport bodies had been asked to donate the buses to the ZP instead of commercially scrapping them.
The ZP, using funds received from corporate social responsibility (CSR) programmes, is planning to refurbish the vehicles as mobile anganwadis, toilets and libraries. Anganwadis are the primary healthcare centres for pregnant women and children below school-going age. At these village-level centres, nutritious meals and supplements are provided to mothers and their children.
Prasad said the mobile centres would be aimed at migratory tribes that mostly populate the southern side of the districts.
“Being on the move continuously, their children do not get access to anganwadis. Our refurbished buses will help anganwadis come to the doorstep of such people,” he said, adding that these buses would also provide the first level of education to the children in their mother tongue, as per the new National Education Policy.
“In the long run, it’s our aim to train and recruit women from these communities as anganwadi workers and teachers,” he said. Pune district has 4,500 anganwadis in villages.
Other uses of such buses, which the ZP is planning, includes turning them into mobile toilets and libraries. These toilets would be used during village fairs as well as for sugarcane harvesters.
“While sugar mills do make arrangements for workers, there is still a demand for toilets. So these buses will be pressed into action during the season,” he said.
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