The Akshaya Patra Foundation, one of the NGOs associated with the Ksheera Bhagya scheme, allegedly violated government instructions in supplying milk to schools. The government also found that the quality of the milk supplied by the NGO is below standard.
Following complaints from school teachers and Block Education officers (BEO), the Karnataka Milk Federation (KMF) tested a sample of the milk supplied by the Foundation at its quality control division. The results showed that the milk is substandard.
The milk powder supplied by the KMF contains minimum 3 per cent fat and Solid Not Fat (SNF) of 8.5 per cent. However, milk prepared by the NGO contains 2.7 per cent fat and 7.27 per of SNF (all other solids like vitamins, minerals, protein, lactose except fat).
A copy of the test report, available with Express, states: “Milk being prepared from whole milk powder for given composition shall contain minimum fat and SNF of 3 per cent and 8.5 per cent respectively. The sample milk from ISKCON tests below the said composition. Hence, sub-standard.”
‘NGO Serves Packaged Milk’
As per the government instructions, the NGOs associated must supply only hot milk. “Akshaya Patra supplies milk in plastic packets in the name of some private agency. We do not know the quality of the plastic. Also, there is no mention of Ksheera Bhagya or Akshaya Patra on the packets,” said a source from the mid-day meal section in the Education Department.
Jaya Kumar S, joint director of the mid-day meal scheme said, “We too have received complaints from BEOs. But we are not the authority to take action and we are writing to the Zilla Panchayats on this.”
When contacted, Vinay N Kumar, General Manager (Operations) Akshaya Patra Foundation, said, “We do not have the proper infrastructure to heat the milk and supply it. So we supply packaged flavoured milk. We have no information about the KMF’s quality check.”
Kumar said the Foundation has entered into a temporary arrangement with a private agency to pack the milk. “We are committed to the scheme and we will put the State government mark and mention the scheme on the packets in the next 15 days,” he added.