CANACONA: It’s been 11 days that over 2000 school students of Canacona Taluka are not getting their midday meals as the supplier has stopped providing the same due to higher costs of supplied meals than what is paid by the government.
According to sources, a midday meal supplier for schools in Khola, Agonda, Gaondongrim and Khotigao villages has stopped to supply midday meals from the beginning of October month, stating the rate of just Rs.6.11/- per student to supply the midday meals is insufficient and do not make up for the expenses incurred in preparing and supplying midday meals.
Rs.6.11 per student, which includes provisions, labour and transportation, so the concerned self-help group that used to supply the midday meals have stopped saying it’s unaffordable.
ADEI claims the Education Department, as well as Canacona MLA/GLA Speaker, is also already notified about the situation, but till now, no solution has come forth as good as no one is willing to accept the order for the supply of midday meals because it’s not affordable at the costs provided by the government.
“We had given them an offer that Aam Aadmi Party will provide all the provisions required to provide midday meals so that children won’t be kept hungry(on empty stomachs) in schools, ADEI told us to give in writing, and we are submitting that as well. Let them give us a list of what is required, and we will provide the same. Today also we have brought some provisions to give, but ADEI refused to take them, saying they can’t accept them without following the procedure, and though we respect their stand, let them soon give us a list of their requirements and AAP Goa will provide the same to them, but don’t keep the children on an empty stomach in schools,” AAP leaders said.
“In a similar way, I have a request to the government who have started these midday meals to give nutrition to the children. With just Re. 6.11/- no child, whatever age may be, can ever get nutritious food. It’s not possible in today’s situation. So government should undertake to review this Scheme and if possible complete the required procedure at the earliest possible to increase the rate so that people/self-help groups can come forward to supply midday meals to the students,” said AAP’s Sandesh Telekar.
Incidentally, students, as well as parents in the villages of Gaondongrim, Khotigao, and Khola, criticized the government for not providing midday meals to their children in schools. In contrast, students complained that their parent’s inability to prepare and deliver tiffins so early in the mornings left them on empty stomachs for the last 11 days.
A parent of Gaondongrim government High school said, ‘ Stopping midday meals in school has become very troublesome to children and parents. While children have to hear about hunger in school time, in many households, the situation doesn’t permit to prepare a meal in the morning.’
“Let it be government or private school, midday meals should be compulsorily provided to children. Otherwise, parents will have to agitate”, said another parent of Khotigao.
Incidentally, on enquiry, it had come to light that the rate of Rs.6.11/- per student was okay when the Scheme was launched when the rate of ‘Chana’ was just Rs.19/-.But now a kilogram of Chana costs have increased to over Rs.100/- .it is not-at-all affordable to continue with the same state of Rs.6.11/-to provide midday meals.
A self-help group says their conviction to social service has continued till last month, but considering the labour driver, transportation is impossible hereafter.
It is believed over 2000 children of schools from Khola, Agonda, Gaondongrim and Khotigao were affected after a Self-help group stopped supplying midday meals.