Two government schools in the district - one in Doraha, other in Sahnewal - are planning to stop serving mid-day meal to their students due to shortage of funds.
The in-charges of the schools said that rising prices of vegetables coupled with costly cooking gas and a shoestring budget had forced them to think of taking the decision.
Karamjit Kaur, in-charge of Government Primary School, Doraha (GPS-Doraha), said, “We had received Rs. 8,000 last month, but the money is not enough. If the authorities do not provide us funds, then we will stop serving mid-day meal to students from November 1.
Our budget for feeding the students is Rs. 3.34 per child daily; it is difficult to run this scheme.”
This, however, is not the first time schools may resort to such a step. At Government Primary School, Nandpur in Sahnewal, mid-day meal was not served for 15 days in September.
School in-charge Sukhwinder Kaur said they had stopped serving mid-day meal due to shortage of funds. “We are running out of funds again. We will now inform the authorities concerned to provide us funds or we will stop serving mid-day meal.”
Contacted, Doraha block education officer (primary) Sadhu Singh confirmed that schools were not receiving much money for mid-day meal. “I have informed the district mid-day meal incharge, Tarsem Singh Banga, several times that the schools must be provided funds every month. He has told me that they they transfer the funds to schools as and when they receive the money,” he said.
Contacted, Banga said he could not comment on the matter. “It is better you talk to district education officer (DEO) (elementary) Ranjit Singh Malhi.” Despite repeated attempts, DEO (elementary) was not available for comment.
Iqbal Singh, Sahnewal block education officer (primary), again asked HT to contact Banga. “The money and food grains are directly transferred to schools. We have nothing to do with it,” he said.
Motivating teachers school heads to contribute
Such has been the problem of funds for implementing mid-day meal at schools in the district that Doraha block primary education officer Sadhu Singh said that they had been motivating school heads and teachers contribute from their own pockets. “But, for how many months will they run this scheme?” he asked. “For the scheme to be successful, the authorities have to provide funds in time.”