Thrusting the issue of the quality of mid-day meals back into the limelight, Congress party workers in Indore met district education officer (DEO) Kishore Shinde with a 30-point agenda and offered him food that is served to lakhs of children under the programme.
However, the DEO promptly refused to eat saying he was on a fast.
During the meeting, Congress party workers raised serious concerns about the quality and taste of the food. In the Indore district alone, mid-day meal is served to more than one lakh school-going children at 1,793 primary and middle schools, up to Class 8, every day.
Apart from the quality of the mid-day meal, Yadav also raised issues like non-availability of toilets at 70 schools and the long list of schools pending recognition, among others.
“We are getting several complaints pertaining to the quality of food. We want to know what actions have been taken by the department to ensure good quality food for the kids,” Yadav said.
He added that when they offered Shinde food to test the quality and taste, the latter declined saying he was on a fast.
Elaborating the deplorable condition of the food, he said the bread served was half-baked, and the vegetable and dessert smelled foul, while the rice contained gravel making the meal inedible.
Earlier, Mukesh Verma, mid-day meal project manager in Indore, also admitted to problems with the bread served to school children and assured prompt action in the matter.
“At every primary and middle school, there is a daily register available. Teachers and officers are free to lodge their complaint and comment about the quality and quantity of food,” Shinde said.
However, “we are yet to get any complaint related to food. Once we get one, the department will take relevant action in the matter.”