Akshaya Patra to provide breakfast in Corporation schools
The Akshaya Patra Foundation has been commissioned by the State government to serve breakfast to 32,000 students in corporation schools across Chennai.
Published: 19th February 2020 06:38 AM | Last Updated: 19th February 2020 06:38 AM | A+A A-
CHENNAI: The Akshaya Patra Foundation has been commissioned by the State government to serve breakfast to 32,000 students in corporation schools across Chennai. The initiative, spearheaded by Governor Banwarilal Purohit, is being undertaken using Rs 5 crore from the Governor’s discretionary fund. The city corporation will provide the land for the programme.
While activists and opposition parties have opposed the decision to involve a private religious organisation -- as the NGO is an initiative of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKON) Bangalore -- Corporation Commissioner G Prakash dismissed concerns saying the current programme has nothing to do with existing ones. “Except for the Governor’s fund and Corporation land, the government will not provide any operational or running cost to the Foundation,” he said. The initiative, he said, was taken by the Governor to ensure children do not attend morning classes on an empty stomach.
He added that the Corporation plans to extend the programme to cover all city schools by next academic year. Critics attacked the decision of identifying an organisation with a religious connection without tendering process, saying there were concerns that the NGO might replace the current menu with lacto-vegetarian food with no onion or garlic, as was the case in Karnataka. Tamil Nadu was the first state to introduce noon-meal scheme with eggs in the menu, decades ago.
MDMK leader Vaiko said the nutritious meal scheme would now become the ‘Manu dharma meal scheme’. VCK’s Ravikumar questioned the need to involve a third party, considering that no new infrastructure was required. “In order to provide breakfast for children, the government will simply have to pump extra funds for the existing noon-meal kitchen and workers,” he said.“I find it suspicious that the government is using discretion to pick one organisation. Even if it wanted the help of NGOs, then they should have issued a tender and selected a suitor transparently,” he said. Akshaya Patra was already preparing breakfast for 5,000 Corporation school children from a centralised kitchen in Thiruvanmiyur, the government has now further allotted an area of 55,000 sq ft to cater to 27,000 students.
Why does it bother
Activists are upset over the private religious organisation being commissioned by the State government for providing breakfast to kids in corporation schools across Chennai. It has replaced the prescibed menu with lacto-vegetarian menu with no onion or garlic in Karnataka