VIJAYAWADA: The implementation of midday meal in Intermediate colleges in the State is likely to get delayed as authorities are still working out the nitty-gritty of the scheme. While State-level authorities are in favour of roping in Akshaya Patra, teams in districts want to involve self-help groups in supplying midday meals to Intermediate students. Officials are in a dilemma as both suggestions have their own drawbacks. Akshaya Patra has limited reach because it has kitchen facilities and services only in a few districts, that too in urban and semi-urban areas. So depending on it for implementation of the midday meal scheme may not be a right idea.
Similarly, the other option – entrusting the responsibility to self-help group women too has its own problems. For this, a proper kitchen and workforce to prepare and serve meals are needed. It will take at least a month to put in place proper infrastructure, according to officials.
Speaking to TNIE, Regional Intermediate Officer of Krishna district, PSSN Reddy said, “Initially, we planned to start the programme by July 1, but as of now the proposal is still at the discussion stage. For setting up kitchens, hiring workers is rather time-consuming. In order to overcome it, we also approached nearby schools for help in supplying midday meals to Inter students.”
Board of Intermediate Education officials initially wanted the scheme to be implemented from July 1 by using midday meal kitchen facilities available in schools located closer to junior colleges. Though officials have not dropped the idea, they fear food contamination in transit. Meanwhile, student organisations are demanding setting up of permanent kitchens in colleges.
“It is a good thing that State government has decided to supply midday meals to Intermediate students in government colleges from this year. But instead of transporting food from other schools, it would be better to build permanent kitchens and hire workers to provide a healthy meal,” said V Charan, AISF Vijayawada city secretary. The decision was recently taken by the State government with the objective of increasing student admission rate in government colleges as well as attendance.
Source: The New Indian Express Dated: 29th June 2018