School students deprived of mid-day meal scheme

By Lamphrang Nongspung

 KLEW: A serious irregularity has been unearthed over the implementation of the mid-day meal scheme in the Unitarian Lower Primary School in Upper Klew village in Ri-Bhoi district.

Students of the school are not getting their mid-day meal even though official records claim that mid-day meals are being provided to the students on a regular basis.

The matter came to light after students of the school confirmed that they were not getting any meal in the school.

“We have not got any meal in the school all these years,” one of the students informed a group of scribes who visited Upper Klew village on Sunday.

When asked if rice was being distributed by the school authorities in lieu of the meals, the children denied the same.

However, matters are entirely different on papers and files maintained by the authorities.

Documents obtained under the RTI Act reveal that in 2009-2010 mid-day meals were distributed to 88 children for 85 days while in 2010-2011 meals were distributed to 81 school children for a total number of 186 days.

The documents further reveal that in 2011-2012 mid-day meals were provided in the school to a total number of 79 students for 127 days.

RTI findings and spot verification clearly suggests that concerned authorities who are implementing the scheme have siphoned off the funds earmarked for school children.

This is the picture of one particular school in Ri-Bhoi district. There are strong possibilities that students of many more schools in the district are deprived of their due of mid-day meals.

The visiting scribes also found that children of Upper Klew village are not getting food items which are distributed under the Integrated Child Development Schemes (ICDS).

Children, who were spoken to, informed that they are not getting any foods items under the scheme, while adding “Only once in a blue moon cooked pulses are distributed in the school.”

“We are not getting food items on a regular basis,” the children complained.

When asked if they were getting milk through the scheme, the children were surprised they were supposed to get milk under the scheme.

“We don’t know that we are supposed to get milk under the scheme,” the children said.

It may be mentioned that cooked food items which are supposed to be distributed under the ICDS include vegetable pulao, vegetable khichri, namkeen dalia, sweet dalia, sweet rice and weaning food (milk supplements etc.) for children in the age group of seven months to one year.

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