Meerut: Days after 230 students fell sick allegedly after consuming mid-day meals (MDM) in different government-run schools in Odisha, inspection in a Meerut city school revealed 160 kg of MDM ration reserved for the students were being fed to cows in a dairy.
The district programme officer (DPO), on Friday, seized 160 kg of MDM ration being fed to the cows, two days after an inspection revealed the students in the city school were not provided any meals for the past three years.
The police have detained owner of the dairy, Praveen Kumar, along with Kunwar Sain, husband of Uma Devi, an anganwadi worker at the school where the ration was supposed to be delivered, the report added.
The Mid-day meal (MDM) scheme was launched as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme on August 15th1995 to enhance ‘enrollment, retention and attendance and simultaneously improving nutritional levels among children.’
According to the official website, food norms have been revised to ensure a balanced diet, cooking cost has been increased, more than 25.5 lakh cooks and helpers are engaged by the State/UTs during 2016-17 for preparation and serving of Mid Day Meal to Children in Elementary Classes and ensures a free supply of nutritious food per child per day in govt-run schools.
However, students falling ill after consuming mid-day meal keeps making headlines on a fairly routine basis.
In May this year, children at a government school in Faridabad, Haryana, found a small snake their food.
Two teachers and six students complained of nausea after consuming the food and were rushed to the hospital immediately.
In Delhi early this year, the North Delhi Municipal Corporation steeped up efforts to monitor and improve the quality of midday meal at its schools, after reports of a dead cat being found in the meals served to students surfaced.
With the BJP govt making Aadhaar Cards mandatory for mid-day meals, number of beneficiaries of the already-in-trouble social welfare scheme reduced.
In Meerut for instance, of a total of 1.73 lakh students in 1,561 schools, only about 29,000 students have Aadhaar cards, which comes to less than 17 %, reported The Hindu.