Panaji: The state government will shortly enter into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Akshaya Patra, the non-profit wing of the International Society of Krishna Consciouness (Iskcon), for supply of midday meals to over 5,000 students at the Cujira school complex in Bambolim.

Akshaya Patra will supply the meals on a pilot basis at Cujira from the new academic year beginning in June. Contents of the MoU are currently being finalised.

The state government is also in the process of providing charge of land to Akshaya Patra to operate its kitchen where the meals will be prepared. A meeting of state officials has also been called to finalise the menu that will be served to the children, sources said. Students of Dr K B Hedgewar School, Mushtifund High School and Rosary High School will be beneficiaries of the meals.

Talks between the state government and Akshaya Patra had begun in 2013 with a view to improve the quality of midday meals served to school students. Presently, 109 women’s self-help groups supply midday meals to students in Goa, but there have been cases of alleged food poisoning during the course of almost every academic year. The monitoring body of the Union human resource development ministry had also found in the past that food served in the sample schools surveyed were either cold or quantities were insufficient. 

HRD officials had suggested that Goa set up community kitchens to ensure supply of hot meals by reducing the distance between the place where meals are prepared and the schools to which they are delivered. 

Akshaya Patra had received international attention for its efficient supply of hygienic and nutritional midday meals in Bengaluru schools. In Goa, it is working out a menu as per local tastes. 

Source: The Times of India        Dated: February 15, 2018.