Midday Meal Scheme: Teachers face problems selling used gunny bags, education dept refuses to budge
The cash strapped Punjab government has directed teachers of government schools to sell used gunny bags which are used to supply midday meals in schools. The government has fixed prices at ₹ 12 for jute gunny bags and ₹ 4 for plastic gunny bags.
Teachers have raised objections over the high rates and asked the state government to reduce it. However, the education department has refused to do so.
Teachers said that it is very difficult to sell used gunny bags at such high prices which is 50% more than the market rate.
The education department has asked teachers to deposit the amount accumulated at district-level midday meal offices.
A teacher, pleading anonymity said, “Meals are loaded and unloaded at multiple places before reaching schools which damages the gunny bags. When we try to sell them, the scrap dealers pay only ₹ 6 to ₹7 for jute gunny bags and ₹1 for plastic gunny bags.”
An official said that the teachers have raised objections over this and written to the state education department to review the order. However, the department has replied by saying that the rates has been fixed after examining the market prices of used gunny bags. So, they will remain the same.
Local scrap dealer Ranjeet Singh said, “We hardly pay ₹ 7 for jute gunny bags and ₹2 for plastic gunny bags. We pay such high rates only for new bags.”
Patiala district education officer, Amarjeet Singh (primary), said, “We are aware that teachers have raised objection over high prices. The issue has been discussed in various meetings. We will bring the matter to the notice of higher authorities.”
General manager of the midday meal scheme Prabchararan Singh said, “These are viable rates. If teachers are facing problems selling gunny bags it is not my concern.”