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Deepa Sharma Sood, Hindustan Times
Ludhiana, February 18, 2013
Government Primary School, Ahata Sherjang, near Division No 3, allegedly received stale food for the mid-day meal from the centralised kitchen on Monday.
School incharge Shefali informed the mid-day meal incharge about the issue, but action is yet to be taken against the contractor.

Talking to Hindustan Times, Shefali said, "This is not the first time that we have received stale food in the school. I have sent numerous complaints to mid-day meal incharge, but he has neither taken action against the contractor, nor done anything to improve the quality of the mid-day meal."

She alleged, "Today we received aloo soyabean and chappati for the meal. On checking the food, we found that the chappatis were stale and the vegetables were uncooked."

She said 46 children study in the school, and they could not serve stale food to them, as that would mean playing with their health.

Tarsem Singh Banga, incharge of mid-day meal, Ludhiana, said, "We have asked the schoolteachers to taste food before signing the register of the transporter. If there is a problem in the food, they should not accept the food from the transporter. But the schools are not following my directions and not returning unfit food. I am taking the complaints seriously and sitting in the centralised kitchen to check the problem."

"The contractor of the mid-day meal has asked the schoolheads that if there is a problem in the meal, they should buy food for the children, for which the contractor would pay," Banga added.

Sanjay Dhawan, the contractor of the kitchen, said, "We are making all efforts to provide quality meals to government schools. Moreover, medical officers and teachers are visiting the kitchen everyday to check the hygiene levels. Cooks are also asked to wear gloves. Machines are used to make chappatis."

Not the first time
Several students had reportedly fallen sick after consuming stale dal emitting foul smell at Government Primary School, Haibowal Kalan, on February 8.

A cockroach was found in cooked vegetables at Government Primary School, Indira Puri, Tajpur Road, on December 10, 2012.

A worm was found in the distributed among students of Government High School, Kotmangal Singh, and Government Primary School, Haibowal, on November 16, 2012.