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Mid-day meals for students launched

THERE IS, after all, such a thing as a free lunch. Ask the 500-odd schoolchildren who got their first taste of gratis luncheons under the mid-day meal scheme which was formally inaugurated by MP Sumitra Mahajan on Friday.

india Updated: Jan 07, 2006 20:44 IST

THERE IS, after all, such a thing as a free lunch. Ask the 500-odd schoolchildren who got their first taste of gratis luncheons under the mid-day meal scheme which was formally inaugurated by MP Sumitra Mahajan on Friday.

Mahajan, accompanied by Mayor Dr Uma Shashi Sharma, later distributed the lunches among students of government-run schools at the state-of-the-art centralised kitchen set up at Hawa Bungalow by Naandi Foundation-the NGO assigned the task of preparing meals.

Although it was a modest spread, three chapattis, lentils and vegetables, the kids seemed pretty satisfied with the food on offer. As, too, were mediapersons who were invited to partake of the meals to assuage qualms regarding the quality of food, especially the machine-made chapattis.

Addressing the gathering Mahajan asserted that the “nutritious and home-like” meals served under the scheme would assist in the overall physical and development of primary schoolchildren.

Speaking on the eve of her first anniversary in office the Mayor assured that strict monitoring would be undertaken to ensure that there was no let up in the quality of food supplied to schoolchildren.

Handing the job of preparing meals to an NGO has left teachers free to carry out their duties instead of cooking food. The Mayor pointed out that preparing meals in schools could also result in accidents with terrible consequence as was witnessed some time ago.

The centralised kitchen would help to prepare food in a hygienic and safe manner and would also make quality control much easier. Under the Rs 2.5 crore mid-day meal scheme, of which the State Government has provided Rs 70 lakh, the Indore Municipal Corporation (IMC) will provide free meals to 49,981 primary school students of 289 Government schools, 41 aided schools and 8 madarsas in the City.

Meals would be served between 9-10 am in schools during the morning shift and between noon to one pm in institutions which operate during the afternoon. The scheme will be implemented in a phased manner with the number of meals being restricted to 10,000 until the arrival of the second chapatti making machine on January 20.

First Published: Jan 07, 2006 20:44 IST