CHANDIGARH: If all goes as per plan, then finally after ten years, children in all the 26,836 Anganwadi centres in Punjab will have a change in the menu. After 10 years of eating Porridge, Kheer (rice pudding) and Panjeeri (snack made of wheat flour), daily, children aged between 3 to 6 years will be given Halwa-Puri (sweet-pudding-fried Indian bread), Rajmah-Chawal (Rice and Kidney Bean), one potato dish and Kichri (dish made from rice and lentils).
Highly placed sources said that the department of Social Security and Development of Women and Children is planning to change the menu as the minister Aruna Chaudhary feels that children cannot eat the same food day-in and day-out as even elders get fed up of eating the same thing daily. With the new menu, children also get to eat something different every day.
Chaudhary held a meeting with Markfed (Punjab State Cooperative Supply and Marketing Federation) officials and directed the cooperative to supply the item as per the new proposed diet plan prepared by the department. A few of these will be packed food items as this will save the department from going through the tendering process for supply of raw material for meals from private contractors and ensure transparency, sources said.
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.
The Punjab government spends around `140 crore on the diet of the eight lakh children at the Anganwadi centres.
An officer said, “This menu was being served to the children for the last ten years daily and the government spends `8 daily on each child and `12 daily on food for expectant mothers.’’