BENGALURU: Akshaya Patra Foundation, one of the largest suppliers of mid-day meals in Karnataka, is in a spot over the state government directing it to include onion and garlic in their menu — something they avoid due to their principle of providing only Satvik food which does not include these two in their recipes. The Akshaya Patra Foundation provides meals to 4.43 lakh schoolchildren in the state.
The officials handling the mid-day meal project in the state have directed the foundation to follow the menu prescribed by the state. But the foundation has not signed the annual memorandum of understanding (MoU) for 2018-19 with the state government, preferring to continue supplying Satvik food.M R Maruti, Joint Director, Mid-day meal scheme, said the Akshaya Patra Foundation had not signed the MoU file.
“Recently we issued directions to Akshaya Patra Foundation to include garlic and onion in their menu at least for one day,” he said.
In an official release, Akshaya Patra Foundation said, “We would like to clarify that our freshly cooked meals are in compliance with the nutrition norms prescribed by the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India, and government of Karnataka.”
M R Maruti, Joint Director, Mid-day meal scheme, said, “Including garlic and onion not just adds nutrition, but also improves the taste. Considering this, we asked the foundation to follow the state menu, but they have not yet replied to our letter.”
According to officials from the state department of primary and secondary education who are working for the mid-day meal scheme, except Akshaya Patra Foundation, all other NGOs and trusts associated with the scheme are following the menu chart given by the state government.
The communication by the mid-day meal officials to the foundation was issued following directions from Food Commission of Karnataka asking the department of primary and secondary education to communicate to Akshaya Patra Foundation to follow the state menu.
In an official release, Akshaya Patra Foundation said: “We would like to clarify that our freshly cooked meals are in compliance with the nutrition norms prescribed by the ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India, and government of Karnataka. It is our constant endeavour to contribute to the government’s effort in promoting good health and nutrition amongst children which is essential for their holistic growth and development. Akshaya Patra is committed to serve quality, hygienic and nutritious food to schoolchildren every day and implement Akshara Dasoha, the flagship mid-day meal programme of government of Karnataka.”