Delhi: Kids served untested meals for five months
The North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) may have been serving substandard quality of food to its school children for the last five months as the mid-day meals were not tested from October to February.
The matter came to light on Wednesday during a discussion of the standing committee. It is mandatory for the corporation to get the food tested regularly to ensure that the prescribed quality and calorie standards are maintained.
According to officials, the contract with the panel of laboratories that conducts the tests had expired.
“The orders for re-empanelment were passed this week and testing has started again. In the last five months, schools were shut for winter holidays in December and January. So effectively, food was not tested for the remaining three months,” said an official of the education department.
However, leader of opposition Mukesh Goel left no opportunity to criticise the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
“It is shocking that for the last five months, there has been no check on the quality of food served to students. This is a new low for the BJP-run corporation. They need to initiate action against the erring executives,” the Congress leader said.
According to officials, 46 samples of mid-day meals from the three corporations are tested for quality twice or thrice every month.
This includes three samples from each of the 12 zones and one sample from each of the 10 kitchens that prepare the food. The cost of the operation is taken care of by the NGOs who have been given the tender for arranging and distributing food.
“There was some problem with the empanelment of laboratories which is why testing was not done. No student has, however, reported health problems due to the food consumed as mid-day meals,” said an official.
The North Corporation operates 775 schools in which 4.25 lakh students are enrolled.