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Just 1.2kg wheat in SDMC dry ration kit for civic body schools

The chairman of the standing committee confirmed the problem and said they will “find a practical solution” soon.
Free foodgrain being distributed by Delhi government at a school in Jahangirpuri, New Delhi.(HT Photo)
Updated on Oct 04, 2021 02:20 AM IST
ByParas Singh, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

Several councillors of the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) have flagged drawbacks in the distribution of dry ration kits in lieu of cooked mid-day meals in schools, pointing out that the 1.2kg of unprocessed wheat provided as part of the monthly kit is too little for families to take to the flour mill.

The chairman of the standing committee confirmed the problem and said they will “find a practical solution” soon.

As the municipal primary schools are still closed for physical operations due to the ongoing Covid pandemic, the students are provided ‘dry ration kits’ --consisting 1.13 kg rice, 1.2 kg pulses and 1.2 kg wheat each month in place of the mid-day meals. South corporation runs 521 municipal primary schools where around 2.5 lakh kids are currently enrolled.

“The meagre quantity of wheat being provided in these kits has made it laughable... We understand rice and pulses can be used directly for cooking but what will parents do with 1.2kg of wheat? Should they take it to flour mill? Isn’t it a cruel joke?” said Suresh Kumar, the representative from Khanpur ward and a member of standing committee.

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Kumar, a councillor from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), said he flagged the issue during one of the standing committee meeting deliberations of the municipal corporation.

“They can’t use this wheat; a four mill operator will not even take it. We should provide at least five kilos of wheat flour,” said Kumar.

Representatives from teachers’ association said that the problem did not arise earlier as ration was delayed for months and it was distributed in bulk after 5-6 months.

Vibha Singh, the vice president of Nagar Nigam Shikshak Sangh, a municipal teachers association, admitted that 1.2 kg of wheat is impractical. “The cost of grinding a kilo of wheat is at least 10. We should try to provide ration for several months in one instalment,” she opined.

Kuldeep Khatri, who heads the Nagar Nigam Shikshak Nyay Manch, another teachers’ body, said that instead of providing such small amounts of rations, the administration should think about implementing direct cash subsidy transfer.

A senior official from the SDMC education department said that ration is being distributed as per the guidelines and that a solution will be worked out before the next committee meeting.

Col (retd) BK Oberoi, the standing committee chairman of the south corporation, said that this is a genuine problem “We will take up the matter with the education department to find a solution. We agree that flour should be provided and if it is necessary, we will get the wheat processed on our end. We are trying to find a practical solution to this problem,” he said.

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