Ganjam district administration has decided to cancel its agreement with Nandi Foundation for supply of mid-day meals to schools in Seragada block. The decision comes after 94 students of Gothogaon UP school were taken ill after taking meals recently. An official report on the issue is awaited.
The Nandi Foundation has been entrusted by the district administration to provide meals in schools since 2008. As per the agreement, the administration provided it a cooking space near the Berhampur railway station while Tata Steel, under its CSR, sanctioned Rs 58 lakh for purchasing cooking equipment.
The foundation supplied food to 536 schools in Seragada, Hinjili, Chatrapur blocks and schools under Berhampur Municipal Corporation having student strength of around 76,000.
Following the last week’s incident, the district administration conducted a social audit besides an inquiry. Ganjam Collector Kishen Kumar told mediapersons that of 153 schools in Seragada, authorities of more than 130 schools alleged that quality of the meals was below standard. The authorities were allowed to cook their own mid-day meals under the supervision of the BDO and District Inspector of Schools.
Of the 118 schools in Hinjili, over 90 schools made similar allegation and were allowed to cook the noon meals on their own. “Since this is an additional burden on the school officials, SHGs will be entrusted with the job. A nodal office would supervise the cooking,” Kumar said. Five lakh children in Ganjam are provided meals for 300 days in a year.