Kapurthala Thousands of students in 650 government schools of the district might not be served mid-day meal in the coming days due to lack of funds. The government primary schools have not received any grant under the mid-day meal scheme from the state government since August.As the government has failed to release grants, teachers have been running the scheme on credit or are forced to pay from their own pockets. Teachers now claim that this scheme might be discontinued in many schools if the grant is not released soon, as it is not possible for them to keep paying on their own.Mid-day meal schemeUnder the mid-day meal scheme, every child in every government and government-aided primary school is to be served a mid-day meal with a minimum content of 300 calories of energy and 8-12 gram protein per day for a minimum of 200 days. Shopkeepers, who are providing items on credit, have also started refusing to give items. Sources said that due to shortage of funds, schools have now started serving ‘khichdi’ and salt rice in the meal to students rather than following the diet chart for cost cutting.Under this scheme, 60% share of the grant is provided by the Centre and the remaining 40% is contributed by the state government.A government teacher from Phagwara, on request of anonymity, said that the state government supplies wheat and rice, but other materials including vegetables, masalas, milk, salt, pulses and fuelwood are purchased by the schools using the mid-day meal grant. “But in absence of these grant since past three months, most schools are serving ‘khichdi’ and rice as no one is willing to spend money from their pockets,” the teacher said.District education officer (primary) Gurcharan Singh said, “We have sent a demand of Rs 1.85 crore to the higher authorities, as the district had not received any funds for the past three months. I have talked with the chief secretary and he assured me that the grant will be released soon.”Sources in the education department said that government always delays its share due to which delays take place in releasing funds. Government shared funds after two months’ delay, last time as well.