Mid day meal workers to take protest to a boil

Workers demand to meet either CM or Education minister; protest to continue as 1.18 lakh workers keep away from work.

Published: 09th February 2018 03:27 AM  |   Last Updated: 09th February 2018 08:04 AM   |  A+A-

Mid day meal workers protest at Freedom Park on Thursday | NAGESH POLALI

By Express News Service

BENGALURU: The protest of mid-day meal workers entered its fourth day on Thursday even as the negotiations with the health department officials did not yield any result. Students in some parts of the state did not get mid-day meals.

On Thursday, Karnataka State Akshara Dasoha mid-day meal workers federation members met the officials who assured to solve their issues in the Budget. But the members rejected their offer and demanded Education Minister Tanveer Sait or Chief Minister to intervene in the matter.

“The protest will be intensified from Friday and we have told the workers not to attend work. Indefinite protests will be staged at taluk and district-levels,” said Federation’s chief secretary Avaregere Chandru. CITU and AITUC have extended their support to the workers’ association.

There are over 1.18 lakh mid-day meal workers across the state who have decided to take part in the protest. They feed 56 lakh kids at 48,000 government and aided schools across the state. As the protests are likely to intensify from Friday, state department of public instruction has asked School Monitoring and Development Committees (SDMC) to chip in and help the schools to provide mid-day meal.

Shalini Rajneesh, principal secretary, department of primary and secondary education said all SDMCs have been told to arrange for the meals locally. Tanvir Sait was not available to comment.

Mid-day meal services were affected across the state on Thursday. Those studying at schools in rural areas were the worst-hit. In Kalaburagi, children at about 10 per cent of schools did not get the mid-day meals. However, with the intervention of SDMC, measures were taken to mitigate the effect of the protest. In Bengaluru, several schools served food with the help of NGOs. In Kalaburgi, arrangements were made for the preparation of food at 90 per cent of the school. In Mysuru too, SDMC members managed to provide lunch to kids in absence of about 40 per cent mid-day meal workers. Food was served to students in Dakshina Kannada district and Shivamogga as well.

Protest likely to affect traffic in CBD today

Traffic in Central Business District is likely to be affected as a large number of mid-day meal workers are expected to reach Bengaluru on Friday morning. “Around 10,000 workers are already in Bengaluru, and another 10,000-20,000 will join the protests at Freedom Park on Friday,” said a member of the association. Places like Anand Rao Circle, K R Circle, Majestic, Race Course Road junction and others are likely to be worst-hit. Police personnel, including that of Karnataka State Reserve Police and City Armed Reserve have been deployed.

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