BHUBANESWAR: The State Government has sanctioned Rs 8.44 crore for provisioning of LPG connections to schools on a pilot basis for the mid-day meal (MDM) scheme.
The funds have been sanctioned for the first phase implementation of the scheme. The School and Mass Education (S&ME) department has identified 5,260 schools that will be provided LPG connections for the MDM scheme. Currently, there are more than 62,000 schools under the S&ME department across the State.
This is the first time schools in the State will be provided LPG connections. S&ME Department Joint Secretary and MDM in-charge Gangadhar Sahoo said as of now, all the schools use wood as fuel in the kitchens.
But with the shift to LPG stoves, the schools can do away with problems associated with storing of wood. While the kitchens will become more cleaner, the menace of insect infestation will also be checked. This apart, cooking will be faster and easier for MDM staff as the process is smoke-free.
The Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare department has conducted the first phase meeting with LPG connection providers like Bharat Gas, Hindustan Petroleum and Indane Gas agencies for the implementation of the scheme. The district Collectors have been instructed to interact with the principals of 5,260 schools and provide them applications for new LPG connections.
The completed applications for new connections will then be collected at the district level and forwarded to S&ME department. The process is expected to be completed within a month after which the distribution of LPG connections will begin.
Sahoo said Orissa Mining Corporation (OMC) has also decided to adopt 5,000 schools in its mining areas and its periphery. OMC will also provide the schools with LPG connections, he said.
S&ME department will organise a national level workshop on MDM on Thursday in Puri for deliberations on improvising MDM scheme. Senior Government officials from the Centre and other States will participate in the workshop.