Amidst growing complaint of poor quality food, the Assam Government has restored the old practices of preparing and distribution of mid-day meal among children.
It may be mentioned that Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal has ordered a probe into the supply of the mid-day meal in schools through centralised kitchen run by NGOs. Biswaranjan Samal, principal secretary of food, civil supplies and consumer affairs department has been directed to conduct an inquiry into allegations of the mid-day meals being of poor quality and submit a report within one month.
Till the inquiry is completed, the chief minister’s office has instructed the authorities to go back to the previous arrangement of midday meals being provided by school authorities instead of NGOs from November 11th, 2019 onwards.
Several allegations of mismanagement in the supply of midday meals surfaced after the NGOs took over since November 1st, 2019.
40 students fell sick after consuming midday meal in Tinsukia which was supplied by an NGO called Ghanashyam Seva Samiti. Reports have also surfaced that thousands of students across the state have refused to eat the mid-day meal served to them by NGOs, protesting against what they said was its poor quality.
There were also allegations that midday meals didn’t reach designated schools on time. In Silchar, mid-day meal workers allegedly ransacked a vehicle of NGO Akriti, which was carrying food for school children.
The district nodal officers have also been directed to redirect and divert the food grains allocated to the NGOs to the schools.
In the recent past, Assam Youth Congress, several social organisations, trade unions staged a protest demonstration in the state, asking the state government to withdraw its decision of engaging NGOs for providing midday meals.
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