Despite the standing guidelines of the Supreme Court, the local Haryana Civil Services (HCS) and Punjab Civil Services (PCS) officers have failed to carry out mid-day meal inspection in city government schools.
In July 2013, the Chandigarh administration, following the apex court's order, had deputed its 13 HCS and PCS officers to inspect mid-day meal scheme in city government schools. The initiative was meant to ensure proper hygiene of the mid-day meal programme and also to keep proper check on the quality of the food distributed among children.
As per the direction of the UT administration, each official, deputed for the job, was to inspect 8-10 government schools every month. The officers were also supposed to inspect the central mid-day meal kitchens that supply food to the government school students.
However, this exercise did not yield any major benefit as only a few officers followed the SC order and went to government schools in Chandigarh for inspection of mid-day meal programme.
"I went to a few schools for inspection in the beginning, but lost interest later as not many were taking this exercise seriously and the administration also did not take any note of it," said an HCS official deputed for inspection.
Sources in the education department said the department had received around only 13 inspection reports till date. However, according to the duty roaster, an officer was supposed to carry out inspection at around 90 government schools from July 2013 to March 2014 and submit the report of each school he inspected.
A senior official of the department said the mid-day meal inspection exercise had not yield any positive response this academic session. "Even though the mid-day meal scheme in Chandigarh has no major problem, but still it requires proper monitoring as 22 children died after having mid-day meal in government schools in Bihar last year," he said.
Causing much embarrassment to city, flies and mosquitoes were found in the mid-day meal food in Government High School, colony number 4, Chandigarh, in September last year.
A school principal, seeking anonymity, said such incidents could be avoided if officials had carried out their inspections as per the schedule. "Their feedback will certainly help streamline the system and work will be carried out in a transparent manner," he said.
Those appointed on the duty were Sunil Bhatia (PCS), TPS Phoolka (PCS), SK Setia (HCS), Mahavir Kaushik (HCS), Mandeep Kaur (HCS), Rajesh Jogpal (HCS), Balbir Singh (PCS), Tilak Raj (HCS), Amandeep Kaur (PCS), Rajiv Kumar Gupta (PCS) and others.
Education secretary, UT, Sarvjit Singh, who recently took over the charge, said inspection was exercised to strengthen the scheme and bring regular changes so that children continue to get quality food.
"We will certainly streamline this job in future so that it gets desired results," he said. According to him, the department is also considering to change the menu of the mid-day meal so that the children get nutritious as well as tasty food.