Following a report in HT on Thursday on the disruption in mid-day meal programme in Orissa, opposition parties in the state have demanded a central government probe into the lapses.
Reacting to the report on confusion in government departments leaving many schoolchildren in tribal-dominated Kalahandi Malkangiri and Keonjhar districts without mid-day meals for about a month-and-a-half after the summer vacation, the opposition parties also demanded action against erring officials.
The opposition has decided to corner the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) government on the issue in the assembly session beginning August 17.
State Congress president Niranjan Patnaik said the state government had violated Supreme Court orders by denying the central government-funded mid-day meals to schoolchildren. “This reflects the attitude of the state government towards the poor and children.”
“We will request the central government to initiate an inquiry into irregularities in implementation of the school meal programme in the state,” he said.
State BJP president Jual Oram said he would write to PM Manmohan Singh for a CBI probe into implementation of the school meal programme in the state. “Depriving schoolchildren of mid-day meals is a serious crime. Women and child development minister Anjali Behera has clearly tried to ignored the issue by saying that it has been sorted out,” Oram said.
State women and child development department secretary Arati Ahuja said, “We have issued allotment and funds for proper implementation of the programme. However, we are enquiring. Action will be taken accordingly.”