Govt plans special measures for mid day meal scheme

A week after a team from the Union HRD ministry visited several districts of the state to assess the implementation of the mid day meal scheme in the schools, it has sent a letter to the Chief Minister's Office stating that the scheme's performance in the four districts of South 24-Parganas, Kolkata, Murshidabad and Siliguri is "poorest".

The CMO has sent the letter to state Primary Education Department expressing its concern and stating that special measures needs to be taken to improve the mid day meal system in the 14,493 schools of the four districts.

Admitting to irregular distribution of free food to students in the schools of the four districts, Choten Lama, the state project director of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan, promised to act on the complaints that she has received from various districts. The government has now decided to deploy dedicated staff at the block level to supervise and monitor the mid day meal programme. The proposal has been submitted to the Finance Department for its approval.

Meanwhile, officials of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan said block level funds have not reached schools in the four districts that have resulted in the poor implementation of the programme. They said the delay in getting funds delay the process of procuring raw materials and as a result some of the schools have stopped giving food to children for nearly a week.

They also said that after the Trinamool Congress came to power, the government dissolved the old self-help groups and formed new ones. "The new self help groups are not able to get the ground running," they said.

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