Lucknow: The principal of Dihwa Pandey's primary school in the Chaurebazar area in Ayodhya district was suspended by the district magistrate, on Thursday, for serving merely rice with salt to students in their mid-day meal.
Acting on the block development officer (BDO) Amit Kumar Srivastava’s report, district magistrate Nitish Kumar suspended Ekta Yadav, the principal of the school serving a notice to gram pradhan. Officials from the education department have been asked to investigate the whole matter and conduct surprise inspections from time to time.
The incident came to light on Wednesday when the parents of some of the students thronged the school and captured the entire scene on their mobile phones and made the video viral on social media. In the video, children are seen sitting on the floor and eating the rice-and-salt served under the Mid-Day Meal Scheme of the government.
As per the local sources, the students had already sounded their parents about the poor quality of food they were getting at the school in the name of mid-day meal.
On Wednesday, several villagers reached the school and found children eating rice with salt in the mid-day meal leading to huge protest by them. Villagers then approached BDO Amit Kumar and raised the issue with him. Villagers also complained that the principal of the school used to often remain absent during
the school hours.
“The teacher refuses to take responsibility, and the pradhan (village head) also refuses. Who is responsible then?” says the person filming, whose face is not visible on camera. “You can see all these children are eating rice and salt. Who will want to send their children to such a school? Yogi baba (Chief Minister
Yogi Adityanath) should watch this video,” the videographer can be heard saying while giving a glimpse of the school.
After suspending the principal, Ayodhya District Magistrate Nitish Kumar, confirmed that the incident had taken place on Tuesday. “I have ordered an enquiry into the incident. The enquiry will be conducted by Basic Siksha Adhikari (BSA). The principal has also been suspended,” said the DM.
In 2019, a similar incident was reported from Mirzapur in eastern UP where in a government primary school, students were being served roti and salt. In fact, under the Mid-Day Meal scheme, the government schools procure wheat and rice from food procurement agencies besides getting compensation for the
cooking costs at the rate of Rs 4.97 per student for primary classes and Rs 7.45 for upper primary classes from the state government.
Each school is provided with a fixed amount to procure ingredients such as pulses, vegetables, oil, salt, spices, turmeric and LPG. The amount of mid-day meals provided to the schools is according to the number of students. Under the national programme, 60% of the cooking cost is shared by the Centre and 40% by the state.
As per the sources, under the scheme, a student from any government or government-aided primary school is to be served a meal with a minimum content of 300 calories and 8-12 grams of protein a day for a minimum of 200 days.
As per the menu of the mid-day meal, the students should get vegetables with chapatis along with a fruit on Monday. On Tuesday, they have to be served with dal and rice followed by vegetable pulao and milk on Wednesday. On Thursday, the children should get Dal with Chapatis followed by the vegetable pulao on Friday and a curry with rice on Saturday.