KOLKATA: West Bengal minister Partha Chatterjee on Monday said an inquiry has been ordered into alleged reports of children being served rice and salt as mid-day meal at a girls school in Hooghly district, instead of the regular combination of eggs or soyabean with the cereal.
Media reports surfaced about the purported incident after BJP MP Locket Chatterjee visited the school in the morning, and alleged that funds meant for mid-day meals in the institution were being siphoned off by a local Trinamool Congress leader.
স্কুলের মিড্ ডে মিলেও এবার কাটমানি !— BJP Bengal (@BJP4Bengal) August 19, 2019
ছোট ছোট শিশুদের মিড্ ডে মিলের ভাগ থেকেও কাটমানি নেবার মতো জঘন্যতম কাজ করতেও এরা পিছুপা হয়না।
ছিঃ তৃণমূল ছিঃ!!! pic.twitter.com/CAACNLDQDR
Shortly after this, the state's Education Minister Partha Chatterjee ordered a "departmental probe" into it, but said there should not be any politics on the issue of mid-day meals for children.
"It is inhuman for anyone to be involved in any graft with regard to mid-day meals meant for little boys and girls," he said.
The minister asserted that the state government has "zero tolerance" towards any wrongdoing with regard to mid-day meals.
"There should not be any change in the original mid- day meal menu. The state government will do whatever needed to ensure that on an immediate basis.
"The government will award strict punishment to anyone found to be involved in depriving school children of mid-day meals," he added.
The minister also accused the central government of not releasing grants to the state on time for mid-day meals.
On the Hooghly MP's visit to the school, he said, "I have no objection to that.
But, she should also take up the issue of timely release of central funds for mid-day meals with Delhi.
" Earlier in the day, Locket Chatterjee alleged that the girl students were served only rice and salt instead of regular mid-day meals, despite the school being allocated Rs 25,000 for eggs and 257 sacks of rice, "which were siphoned off by a local TMC leader".