At the government-run Sarojini Naidu Girls School here, 22 students were about to have their mid-day meal of sweet upama about 10.30 am on Thursday, when teachers found a dead frog in the food container.
About a year back, a dead rat was found in the mid-day meal at another government-run school in Bhopal.
The situation on Thursday, according to officialese, was quickly brought under control by throwing away the food. Officials of the Bhopal Municipal Corporation and the education department rushed to the school, seized the body of the frog and made “a Panchnama – the first listing of evidence and findings – for taking further action”.
An NGO, Naandi Foundation, which has been supplying food from its centralised kitchen to 58,000 students in Bhopal since July 2006, denied any responsibility in the incident. Kitchen manager Dayal Nayar asked, “The body of the frog was intact. How can it be possible at 180 degree centigrade temperature of boilers in the mechanised kitchen?”
Nayar, however, informed that most of the teachers were annoyed as they had been summoned to serve food to 22 of the 481 students who were present at the school during the hot summer day.
The mid-day meal scheme, which covers about 12 crore children all over the country, has been allocated Rs 4,813 crore a year. Though it has been in place in Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat from 1995, the Supreme Court ordered on November 28, 2001, that it be expanded to all parts of the country.
The scheme is supposed to provide prepared meal to every child in every government and government-assisted schools for at least 200 days a year. And each meal has to contain 300 calories and 8-12 gm of protein each day. Till 2007, it was provided only to primary school students. Now, the middle school students are also covered under the scheme.
In Madhya Pradesh, mid-day meals are served during the summer holidays in the drought-hit areas of the state. Bhopal has also been declared drought-hit due to the acute water crisis this year.