Pune: The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has awarded the contract of mid-day meal supplied to students studying in civic schools, to Bengaluru-based Akshaya Patra Foundation, on an experimental basis. 

The civic body was receiving complaints from teachers and principals about the substandard mid-day meals provided by the PMC affiliated self-help groups (SHGs). 
Based on the complaints, the Standing Committee has taken the decision to award contracts to NGO Akshaya Patra Foundation. This is the first time that the corporation has awarded the mid-day meal to a private agency. 

On Monday, the Standing Committee of the PMC sanctioned the proposal to give contract to Akshaya Patra Foundation. The proposal was tabled by Pune Municipal Corporation school board administration. Under the government mid-day meal programme, the State government gives Rs 4.13 per student of first to fifth standard and Rs 6.18 per student of fifth to eighth standard. The government has fixed a menu for every day based on calories.

Yogesh Mulik, Chairman of the Standing Committee, said, “Right now, city based 183 self help groups provide mid-day meal to more than 80,000 students (standard first to eight) as per State government mid-day meal programme. However, we are receiving complaints from teachers and principals regarding the substandard mid-day meal, unhygienic preparation of food, insufficient food to students and providing low calorie meal. Hence, we have taken the decision to give contract to Akshaya Patra Foundation on an experimental basis to 25,000 students.”

According to the proposal, Akshaya Patra Foundation will provide mid-day meal to Hadapsar-based PMC run school of 25,000 students. The NGO has a kitchen of 20,000 square feet in Handewadi area in Swami Vivekanand Industrial Estate. The foundation is ready to spend Rs 8 per student to provide hygenic and healthy mid-day meal.
Akshaya Patra Foundation is already providing mid-day meal to Nagpur Municipal Corporation and Thane Municipal Corporation-run schools. 

Source: Sakal Times                                                                   Date: Tuesday, 6 November 2018