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HindustanTimes Sat,23 Aug 2014

Education minister demands report on unfit mid-day meals

Deepa Sharma Sood , Hindustan Times  Ludhiana, May 04, 2013
First Published: 20:06 IST(4/5/2013) | Last Updated: 00:13 IST(5/5/2013)

Taking note of repeated cases of stale or insect-infested mid-day meals, state education minister Sikander Singh Maluka has asked district education officer (DEO) (elementary) Ranjit Singh to send him a report regarding this.

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As many as six cases of unfit mid-day meals being served to government schoolchildren have come to the fore in the past six months in the district.

Talking to Hindustan Times, Maluka, said, "I have asked DEO (elementary) to submit a report so that strict action can be taken against the contractor, if found guilty. I have received several complaints regarding mid-day meals. We will not tolerate anybody compromising the health of students."

"Despite several complaints, the quality of mid-day meals has not improved. Therefore, if the report submitted by the DEO (elementary) indicates that there is a miss from the contractor's side, we will cancel his licence," the minister added.

It is pertinent to mention that a medical officer and a schoolteacher are deputed at every government school to ensure that good quality food is being prepared in hygienic conditions for students. However, still six cases of stale and insect-infested mid-day meals have been reported.

The centralised kitchen concept to prepare mid-day meal was started on November 16, 2012, to serve food in 150 government primary and upper primary schools in the city. In Ludhiana district, there are 1.79 lakh students, of which 35,000 students in Ludhiana city are served meals cooked in centralised kitchens.

The cases
November 16, 2012: On the first day itself of the centralised kitchen, worms were found in the meals served at Government High School, Kotmangal Singh, and Government Primary School, Haibowal.

December 10, 2012: A cockroach was found in cooked vegetables at Government Primary School, Indira Puri, Tajpur Road.

February 8: Several students reportedly fell sick after consuming stale dal emitting foul smell at Government Primary School, Haibowal Kalan.

February 18: Government Primary School, Ahata Sherjang, near Division Number 3 received stale meal from the centralised kitchen.

May 3: Parents of students at Government Middle School, New Subhash Nagar, complained to school authorities about pests being found in boiled rice.

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