Taking a serious note of substandard food being repeatedly served to students at government schools in the district, Punjab education minister Daljit Singh Cheema on Thursday served a show-cause notice to the mid-day meal contractor seeking an explanation from him on the issue.
After insects were found in the food several times, the mid-day meal contractor, Harwinder Singh, who is responsible for cooking and supplying cooked food to government schools in the district, has been asked to give an explanation on this.
“Those who are playing with the health of children by making them consume poor quality food will be punished. The contractor has been served show-cause notice to which he will to respond within seven days for the negligence,” said Cheema.
The education minister said necessary action would be taken against the erring staff, if found guilty. The minister has already ordered a probe into the matter and sought report from the circle education officer.
Ever since government schools started after summer vacation, numerous complaints of the poor quality food being served at schools have been pouring in.
Meanwhile, team of district administration, health and education departments collected samples of various food items from the kitchen at Khurla Kingra on the outskirts of
Deputy commissioner Kamal Kishore Yadav said additional deputy commissioner Kumar Amit along with district health officer and mid-day meal coordinator inspected the storage, cooking area, packaging and transportation facility.
“We conducted a surprise check at the kitchen. Now CCTV cameras will be installed on the premises to further keep a check on cooking and hygiene,” said Yadav. He said a constant tab would be kept on the working of cooks and other staff.
“There will be regular checking from tomorrow onwards and the mid-day meal coordinator will be present at the kitchen when the food is cooked and transported to schools,” Kamal Kishore Yadav added.
The contractor was hired in February to improve the quality of food served to students at government schools.
Civil surgeon Dr RL Bassan said district health officer Dr Balwinder Singh and food security officer Dr Harjot Pal Singh seized 13 samples of rice, rajmah, besan, turmeric powder, red chilli powder, refined cotton seed oil, wheat, pulses, frozen peas, tea leaves, chana dal and garam masala.
“The samples have been sent to the state food laboratory in Chandigarh. Legal action will be initiated against the defaulters as per the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006. There will be no compromise as far as the safety of food meant for schoolchildren is concerned.”
Flies found in food at Nagra primary school
Education officials found flies and insects in pulses served to students at Government Primary School, Nagra, on Wednesday.
As soon as the students raised an alarm, the teachers told them to stop eating and immediately called the block primary officer West (2) Praful Kaur to check the food supplied by the NGO. Harjinder Kaur, a teacher at the school, said, “We even called zila parishad members to check the food. When the NGO food suppliers got to know about it, they wanted to take back the food. We, however, did not allow them to take back the food.”
Rajinder Singh Nagra and Gurdeep Nagra, zila parishad members, also joined after the BPO’s
“We will show this food containing flies and insects to the deputy chief minister to make him realise what they are serving to the future of the country. We have packed the food and will be visiting Chandigarh soon to show this to him,” said Rajinder Singh Nagra.
Rajinder Singh Nagra said, “About 80 gm black gram is distributed to each student but these NGOs are serving vegetables with gravy. The gravy was also half-baked.”
At Government Primary School, Maqsudan, black gram contained insects. The school teachers and zila parishad members had scuffle with the general manager of the NGO who is responsible to supply and cook food. The food was taken back from the school.