KENDRAPARA: In a unique mark of protest, a Class VI student of Dukuka village walked 10 km to lodge a complaint with Kendrapara Collector against her father for allegedly taking away mid-day meal (MDM) money and rice meant for her on Monday.
Sushree Sangita Sethi (11), a student of Dukuka Vidyapitha, lodged a written complaint with Collector Samarth Verma accusing her father Ramesh Chandra Sethi of forcibly taking the MDM money and rice sanctioned to her.
In the complaint, she stated that after her mother passed away two years back, her father remarried last year. Since then, Sushree was staying in her uncle’s house as her father and stepmother refused to take care of her.
Though the government, post COVID-19, is depositing money meant for MDM in the bank accounts of students and their guardians besides providing rice to them, Sushree was deprived of the same. She stated that she has a bank account but the school authorities are depositing the money in her father's account.
She alleged that when she asks for the money, Ramesh refuses and also takes her quota of rice from school.
Kendrapara Collector Samarth Verma said, "On hearing the plight of the student, I have directed the district education officer (DEO) to deposit the money in her account from now. Besides, the DEO will take necessary steps to recover the money and rice from the student’s father."
Contacted, DEO Sanjb Singh said as per the Collector's order, the MDM money will be deposited in the student’s account. Steps will be taken to refund the money taken by her father to the girl. The school headmaster has been directed to provide rice only to the student.
Singh informed that as schools are closed due to the pandemic, authorities are providing 150 gram of rice to each student and depositing Rs 8.10 per day in their accounts. The money is being deposited in the account of students once a month.