BALASORE: With the State Government announcing summer vacation for theschools till Raja festival in mid June in the wake of the intense heat wave, teachers are now worried over storing eggs that were supplied for mid-day meals (MDM). The schools were initially declared closed from April 11 to 26. On Monday, the State Government announced summer vacation for students as the blistering condition showed no sign of improvement. Although distribution of MDM is prohibited during vacation, there was no instruction from the Government on stopping noon meals during the prevacation period from April 11 to 26.
Eggs worth around Rs10 crore distributed in schools across the State under MDM scheme during the closure period are either left to rot or swindled by school authorities due to lack storage facilities. In the last two weeks, 1,97,06,252 eggs worth Rs9,36,04,697 were distributed in the schools. While in some parts of the State, MDM eggs are being provided by OPOLFED, different agencies including NGOs selected by the local administration provide the same in Balasore district. In the last two weeks, school authorities stocked the MDM rice and stopped procuring other grocery items, but eggs provided by agencies were left to rot in the absence of storage facilities amidst hot and humid condition.
In Gudupahi school of Sadar block, 1,000 eggs were provided for MDM. Nearly 50 per cent of those could not be served as the vacation was declared. Teachers said the entire egg stock has been wasted. An official in the District Education Office, Balasore, admitted to have been receiving query from school teachers and management committees about storing the eggs that were supplied prior to the closing of schools. Even as some school management committees are suggesting to sell the eggs and purchase once again after the schools reopen, there has been no clear directive on it by the School and Mass Education Department. On the other hand, while school authorities are reporting that the eggs have been damaged, sources alleged that the officials are selling those in the open market.