Free Press Journal

Bhopal: World Breastfeeding Week: ‘Aanchal Kaksh’, a non-starter in Bhopal


Bhopal: Even two years after announcement by state government to open a breastfeeding room ‘Aanchal Kaksh’ at all public places including bus stops and collectorates in the state, the facility is yet to be made available in the state capital. The scheme was initiated by the Integrated Child Development Service (ICDS) of the state government in August 2016 during the Breastfeeding Awareness Month to enable mothers to breastfeed their toddlers.

The room named ‘Aanchal Kaksh’ was supposed to be decorated with posters giving pictorial instructions on how to breast-feed baby and the importance of breastfeeding. The secured room was to be painted pink to make it noticeable.

However, this reporter visited the collectorate, the two major bus stands in the state capital – Nadra at Hamidia Road and ISBT (Inter-State Bus Terminus) at Habibganj, but the ‘Aanchal Kaksh’ was nowhere to be seen on any of these locations.

Surprisingly, neither officials of collectorate nor district women empowerment office were aware of any such proposal. “No, there is no ‘Aanchal Kaksh’ facility here. In fact, we are hearing the name for the first time,” said officials at Collectorate. The response of the officers at district women empowerment office was no different.

“’Haan, hona to chahiye par hai nahin” (Yes, it should be there but it is not), said a person who was managing the register at waiting room of ISBT. The scene was no different at Nadra bus stand in Old City. “Even, there is no proper waiting rooms for passengers, so, how can we imagine about the breastfeeding room,” said Sabnam Bano who was waiting for her bus.

Lack of publicity leaves room deserted at Rly station

There is only one ‘Aanchal Kaksh’ available at ladies waiting room on platform no. 1 at Bhopal Railway Station, but women are not aware of it due to lack of publicity. There are no posters and banners pasted at ladies waiting room or at general waiting rooms informing about the ‘Aanchal Kaksh’.

“No, I didn’t find any breastfeeding room neither at Bhopal Railway station nor at Habibganj Station. I am hearing the name for the first time, ” said Namrata Vyas who was waiting for train at air conditioned waiting room at Bhopal Junction.

 “I had to breastfeed my baby openly. What to do? We had no option.  No, I don’t know about the facility of ‘Aanchal Kaksh,” said Rashmi Saxena who hail from Itarsi and was waiting for train at Bhopal station.

Archana Chitnis, minister for women and child development

 “We have opened hundreds of ‘Aanchal Kaksh’ in the state. I am not aware that Bhopal collectorate and bus stands in the city don’t have this facility. Now that you have told me about it, we will look into this.”