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Mid-day meal kids can be choosy!

Hum ee upama naa li. Aap humka kheer do, masterji. (No more upma! Please give us kheer, sir). Children at the government primary schools in Gorakhpur and Ballia regions are demanding a different, more sumptuous fare under the mid-day meal scheme, fed up as they are of the same old upama, jeera pulao and the occasional sambhar chawal, for well over one year.

india Updated: May 07, 2006 01:46 IST

Hum ee upama naa li. Aap humka kheer do, masterji.

(No more upma! Please give us kheer, sir).

Children at the government primary schools in Gorakhpur and Ballia regions are demanding a different, more sumptuous fare under the mid-day meal scheme, fed up as they are of the same old upama, jeera pulao and the occasional sambhar chawal, for well over one year.

Kids in the Bulandshahr, Gorakhpur, Balia and a few other districts have in fact ‘gone public’. They have told officials and school staff to do away with the conventional recipes and serve some “mouth watering dishes” that can be relished, according to results of a survey conducted by the Education Department.

The survey findings show that hardly anyone wants upama. They are all demanding kheer and rice. An official said the kids were particularly demanding sweet dishes and the Education Department would have to rethink the mid-day meal menu this July when the new session begins. The problem is, the Education Department has to squeeze in new dishes in the same cost-price so as to stay within the budget.

Parishadiya Schools will close for summer recess from May 20 and will open in July. Hence, the officials are left with very little time to work things out.
Secretary of Basic Shiksha Parishad JS Deepak says: “Mid-day meal scheme is being closely monitored by the government. We carry out time-to-time surveys and efforts are on to make some changes and consolidate the scheme when the session starts in July.” He, however, refused to say any more.

The general feeling in the department is that going by the children’s mood, the officials may bring in some changes. Rice and kheer could well replace upama and zeera pulao.

The matter was taken up at the meeting of Project Approval Board held at MHRD last month.

After much deliberation, there was a consensus that change is required. If students of a particular region do not want any specific food then it can be replaced but the cost should not go up.

Says Sanjay Sinha, deputy director who deals with the mid day meal scheme: “We would consider the feedback of the students and try to work out as to what best can be given to them which they would be able to relish.”

First Published: May 07, 2006 01:46 IST