Egg glitch comes in Mid Day Meals -Santosh Narayan
Ranchi: The State Government, working hard to introduce centralised kitchens to cook nutritious Mid-Day Meals (MDM) for school children, has found eggs not so palatable.
ISKCON and Akshay Petra, the two premier organisations, which came forward to run the mega kitchens in different parts of the State, have flagged their reservations about cooking eggs in their kitchens.
Confirming the development, Sanjay Tike, looking after MDM related activities of ISKCON in the State, outrightly rejected any scope of negotiation with the Government. “We are not doing that (serving egg in MDM) in any other state where we are present, nor in about 450 schools we are operating in Jharkhand and would not do that in other areas, if given the opportunity to run centralised MDM kitchens. This is our clear stand and no compromise is possible as far as non-vegetarian items are concerned,” said Tike, who also cited “practical problem” of cooking so many eggs at a time.
A representative of Akshay Patra was no so blunt in rejecting eggs, but mentioned that there is no need to include the ‘non-vegetarian’ item for children at all.
“We are working to include millets and other indigenous grains into the meal so that it can be made sufficiently nutritious for children. We are doing this across the country and getting good response. After this there is no need to provide egg,” said an official of the Akshay Patra Foundation, world’s largest NGO running MDM programme and serving over 16 lakh children in 13,839 schools across 12 states in the country.
Nonetheless, the obstacle becomes bigger in Jharkhand where greater enthusiasm and attendance are seen among school children on the ‘egg day’, which is currently three days a week.
Top sources in the MDM cell governed under the Department of School Education and Literacy confided to The Pioneer that the issue came for discussion during a recent meeting.
“The issue was discussed in the meeting with the Secretary after both ISKCON and Akshay Patra placed their inability to provide eggs to the students in MDM. It is being discussed what to do in such as a situation. Some other ways are being looked into like providing the fund allocated for eggs directly to Saraswati Vahinis’ accounts and the cooks in place in every school completing the task like being done at present. Still, there is time left in implementing the centralised kitchen model and till then any decision can be made,” said an official from the State’s MDM Cell.
Amid all this, the Government is sure not to omit egg from its menu which is provided as additional nutrient to the school beginners.
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The Pioneer, 9 November, 2017, http://www.dailypioneer.com/state-editions/ranchi/egg-glitch-comes-in-mid-day-meals.html