There is confusion regarding regulation of daycare centres, leading to their reopening despite it being unsafe for children.
Bengaluru: Private daycare centres are reopening in the city despite government restrictions. There is confusion among various government departments as to whose purview these child care centres fall under.
Taking advantage of this loophole, daycare centres have resumed offering their services post the pandemic, citing pressure from working parents as a reason of reopening.
Narisha Prithvi, owner of Gokulam Montessori and Creche said, “We had to open the daycare as a matter of urgency. People working in the hospitals, etc, did not have anywhere to keep their children. Some parents are doctors, some are nurses, some work in the hospitals, some are professionals working in the banking sector.”
Rules that regulate the daycare centres in the city are vague and uncertain, and the process that daycare owners need to go through to get permission to reopen is a tedious one.
The Joint Secretary of Health and Family Welfare Service, Mr. Chiranjeevi, said, “The daycare centres are maintained, licensed and monitored by the Women and Child Welfare Department. If daycare centre people approach the Women and Child Welfare Department, then Women and Child Welfare Department will take our help to reach the Technical Advisory Committee, who will decide the precautions, hours, etc.”
The Women and Child Welfare Department decline having any regulatory power over daycare centres. This mismanagement in their regulation has led to their reopening, either partially or fully.
However, this loophole has been beneficial to parents who have returned to office full time. Anushree Bathija, a parent whose child is enrolled in Gokulam Montessori and Creche said, “Initially, I would take him (her son) along to work, give him some activities to do, somehow I used to manage.” She is relieved that the daycare has opened and she can drop her son off at a safe place while she is at work.
The centres that have opened up are taking adequate measures to ensure the safety of children. Sanjana S., owner of Samruddhi Play Home said, “We give sanitizers and keep the premises clean. Children also have their masks on alongwith staff, and we do not provide food… Parents of children need to be fully vaccinated, and parents are required to give a letter telling any risk is from your side, because I don’t know where children can catch Covid from outside.”
BBMP Health department says that it is a little soon to say when authorities will decide to open these centres as it is a matter of young children.