ISKCON serving ‘poor quality’ mid-day meal to Kurukshetra govt school students: Haryana official
Kurukshetra district education officer (DEO) has alleged that the mid-day meal being served by the ISKCON Food Relief Foundation to thousands of students of elementary classes in the district is of ‘poor quality’. ISKCON, however, has denied the allegation.
The DEO, Arun Kumar, also claimed that the food is prepared in “unhygienic conditions” and served in a stale condition to students long after it is cooked.
The matter has been raised by DEO Kumar in a letter written to the director, elementary education, Haryana.
Talking to Hindustan Times, Kumar said the quality control committee constituted by him repeatedly directed the authorities of ISKCON Kurukshetra to improve the quality of food being served to students, but they did not take the required steps to do so.
The DEO said he, along with other officials, visited a primary school in Bhiwanikhera village of the district on September 16 and found that stale food was being supplied by ISKCON.
“The next day we visited the ISKCON kitchen and store and found that moth-eaten, stale potatoes were stored there indicating that rotten veggies are used to cook food meant for students,” he said while adding that he had also taken up the issue with higher officials.
In his letter, Kumar sought stern instructions from the director , elementary education, to ISKCON to ensure good quality food for students of all schools.
Meanwhile, Narayan Prabhu, in-charge of ISKCON Kurukshetra, refuted the allegation and claimed that they serve hot and fresh meals prepared with the highest standards of hygiene and quality ingredients while meeting nutritional requirements.
“We don’t have any motive of earning behind this initiative. We purchase best quality products and vegetables to prepare food for the school kids. Our 150 employees working in the kitchen eat the same food every day,” he said.
Asked why they have only one kitchen to prepare food for thousands of students, he said, “This is our old kitchen and we start preparing food at 3am to ensure that it reaches all students before recess. We get the food examined by teachers every day and get their signatures in our meal book,” he added.
ISKCON provides mid-day meal to about 42,000 students of 542 schools in three blocks of the district and the government pays the society Rs 4 per day per child. The government also provides it free wheat and rice as per their requirement.
Officials in the education department said the cost of food being prepared in the schools is the same but the quality of the food served by ISKCON is poor.
However, ISKCON functionaries maintained that they supply meals to about 3.5 lakh students of 2,500 government schools from four state-of-the-art kitchens in Kurukshetra, Gurugram, Palwal and Faridabad districts in Haryana and they never faced any such allegations.
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