CHANDIGARH: Anganwadi centers across Punjab will have a new diet menu as it has been mulled that Karha-Puri, Rajmah-Chawal and kichdi will be given to all the children aged between 3 to 6 studying in these centres.
Highly placed sources said that the state government is planning to change the menu of the diet given to the small children between (3 to 6 years) in the 26,836 anganwadi centres in the state. At present, the children are given daliya (porridge), Kher and Panjeeri (Nutritional Indian snack).
Now the Department of Social Security and Development of Women and Children is planning to change the menu of the ananwadis as the minister Aruna Chaudhary feels that one cannot have the same item to eat day in and day out as the elders also get fed up eating the same thing.
Thus it has mulled that Karha-Puri (sweet-pudding-fried Indian bread), Rajmah-chawal (Rice and Kidney Bean) and Allo sabzi (Potato vegetable) should be served to the children who come to these anganwadi centres. So that the children will also get to eat something different every day.
It is learnt that every year the state government spends around Rs 140 crore on the diet on the children going to the anganwadi centres. A little more than eight lakh children between 3 to 6 years come to the 26,836 such centres daily.
An officer said, "daily this menu has been served to the children for last ten years and on each child around Rs 8 is spent daily on just the food and for expecting mothers it is Rs 12 daily.''
"Also we are mulling to give khichdi in the new diet besides Karha-Puri and Rajmah-chawal and potato vegetable (allo sabzi) and presently we will stop giving daliya for the time being but the other items like kher and panjeeri will continue,'' he said.
Sources said that on Wednesday the Social Security and Development of Women and Children minister Aruna Chaudhary held a meeting with the department and Markfed (Punjab State Cooperative Supply and Marketing Federation) official in which she directed the cooperative to supply the item items as per the new proposed diet plan prepared by the department, a few of these will be packed food items.
This will save the department from going through the tendering process for supply of raw material for meals from private contractors and ensure transparency. Thus, with supply of maximum fortified items, including flour and oil the calorie and nutrition content of each meal will be enriched as additional nutrients will be added in fortified items to improve nutritive value.
Punjab Women and Child Development minister Aruna Chaudhary said, "daily three items ( daliya, kheer and panjeeri) are being served at anganwadi centers for many years. Now we have prepared a new menu as we want to change the existing menu.''