शुक्रवार, 1 जनवरी 2016

Centralised Kitchen in 2784 Schools covering 2,69,044 children under MDM in Odisha

Centralised Kitchen in 2784 Schools covering 2,69,044 children under Mid-Day-Meal in Odisha


In November’2001, while hearing a writ petition (WPC 196/2011) filed by PUCL, Rajasthan, the Supreme Court directed the Govt. of India, State Govt. and Union Territories to implement the Mid-Day-Meal scheme by providing every child in every govt. school and govt. assisted primary schools with a prepared MDM with a minimum content of 300 calories and 8-12 gram proteins each day of school for minimum 200 days.  On 20 April 2004, the SC directed that infrastructure for the implementation of the MDMS be developed. The Central Government was directed to make provisions for the construction of cooking sheds and further directions   made to ensure better attempts towards provision of drinking water facilities etc. The Court also directed that preference must be given to dalits, SCs and STs in the appointment of cooks and helpers. It signifies that MDM to be implemented in decentralised manner involving all section of people like parents, woman SHGs, teachers etc.

But in Odisha, the State has handed over a number of schools to private bodies mostly corporate-backed Religious Institutions   like Akshaya Patra Foundation and Nandi Foundation to provide MDM to the children. But the experience  of  Meals  served  by these  organisations, its quality, manner  of  preparation  and supply  of food  has given negative picture   in the state. There is huge complaints by parents and children against the quality of food served  by  these organisations.  

There was national study done by some researchers like Lana Whittaker, PHD scholar, University of Cambridge   about the preparation of food, meals served by Akshaya Patra Foundation in other states. In decentralised kitchens, onion and garlic being used. But Akshaya Patra does not use these ingredients for religious reasons. It is disconcerting that in a secular country, an organisation in partnership with the government is being allowed to dictate the menu according to the religion of its own promoters. For every Rs 7.40 Akshaya Patra spends per lunch per day, the government provides Rs 4.38. It is not clear why religion should be part of this government food security scheme.

More detrimentally, the NGO’s religious beliefs are also preventing the inclusion of eggs in the scheme in Rajasthan, Odisha and Karnataka.  Though there is demand for eggs, Akshaya Patra foundation does not serve.  Odisha experience shows that many times food served by  these organisations are  found  inadequate, tasteless  and  inedible. The children are seen throwing it without consuming. It has also squeezed rural employment for women who were appointed  as cook and helper  in the schools.

  The National Food Security Act stipulates that centralized kitchens can only operate in urban areas. But  the Akshaya Patra and MANNA Foundation    supplies food  in different blocks of Puri, Keonjhar,  Nayagarh districts   in violation of the Act. This means that food is kept in containers for many hours before it is consumed raising food safety concerns. The model also prevents community participation.

RTI Application was submitted to the PIO, Dept. of School and Mass Education, Govt. of Odisha seeking information about number of Schools covered under centralised kitchen  and name of the organising running centralised kitchen and supplying meals  under Mid-Day-Meal scheme.  The PIO  supplied the information on dated 7.12.15 which is as follows.

  Name of NGO
District
Block/ Municipality/NAC
Schools
Children
Akshaya Patra Foundation
Puri
Puri Municipality
75
11,651
Puri Sadar
205
16,218
Satyabadi
166
11,822
Gop ( Decentralised )
216
12,301
Total
4
662
51992
Nayagarh ( Decentralised)
Bhapur
160
12,360
Khandapada
180
14,308
Total
2
340
26,668
Sundargarh

Rourkela Municipality
145
22,948
Lathikata
162
17,332
Bisra
113
10,353
Total
3
420
50633
Bhubaneswar
BMC
186
32,647
Cuttack Municipality
229
26,407
Total
2
415
59,407

Grand Total
11
1837
188347
MANNA Trust
Ganjam
Berhampur Municipality
134
11,364
Chhatrapur
202
16,395
Hinjilicut
157
14,748
Total
03
493
42,507
Keonjhar
Keonjhar Municipality
270
23000
Kalahandi
Lanjigarh Municipality
184
15,190
Grand Total

56
947
80,697

Pradip Pradhan
M-9937843483
Date- 31.12.15



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