Bihar mid-day meal tragedy: Centre says need for collective responsibility

PatnaAn Indian cook distributes free school lunches to children at a government run school in Patna. (AP)

Amid the blame game between the Centre and Bihar government over the mid-day meal tragedy, HRD Minister Pallam Raju today said it is time to "wake up" and take "collective responsibility"

The minister said government wants that the central government scheme is implemented properly and has hence constituted a review committee, which will look into the quality of the programme.

"It is certain that we will be strengthening the mechanism towards implementing the scheme," he told reporters here.

The Union minister said he has received the report by the Saran administration over the incident, which talks about shortcomings in the way food was stored and how that one factor led to the unfortunate incident. But we are awaiting forensic report, which will give greater detail about what is happening.

To a question about the Bihar government denying receiving any alert as claimed by his ministry, Raju said, "I I know there is a monitoring mechanism committee whose job is to find out loopholes and shortcoming. They have particularly pointed out to those 12 districts."

He, was, however, quick to add, "Now this is not a question of who has done what." "It is the time that all of us should wake up...It is a collective responsibility. It is not responsibility of state alone. It is the responsibility of local community, school management committee and district administration to ensure things are going to function," Raju said.

The minister said that when we know that this is the scheme, which is going to provide nutrition to our children, "we should strengthen it and the focus should be on that".

The mid-day meal tragedy has sparked a blame game with the Bihar government refuting Centre's contention that it had sent alerts to 12 districts, including Saran, where 23 children died after consuming food, over implementation of the scheme.

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