Special mid-day meal for Sundargarh high schools deferred

The district education officer said some technical issues are yet to be sorted out, adding the special MDM scheme would be introduced shortly.
Image used for representational purpose only.
Image used for representational purpose only. (Express Illustrations)

ROURKELA : The special mid-day meal (MDM) programme for Class IX and X students of government high schools in Sundargarh has been deferred again by the district education office.

The special MDM, not covering high schools, is being funded by the District Mineral Foundation (MDM) with the Sundargarh district administration having given the necessary fund approval last year. The initiative assumes significance in the wake of ongoing national MDM programme renamed as PM-POSHAN since its launch in 1995 has been providing cooked meals to students from class I to VIII.

Reliable sources informed the special MDM scheme would benefit around 45,000 high school students, mostly tribal and from poor families, of 384 government high schools including Odisha Adarsha Vidyalayas and government aided high schools. Sundargarh will be the second district in Odisha after Jharsuguda to launch noon meals for high school students with its own funds.

At the fourth meeting of Sundargarh zilla parishad on November 21, 2023, collector Parag Harshad Gavali had informed provision was made for providing noon meals to Class IX and X students. Subsequently, the district education authorities had asked the high schools to complete associated activities like opening of separate bank accounts, engagement of cook-cum-helpers and procurement of utensils. The administration had also made arrangement for additional allotment of rice for the special MDM programme which was supposed to be launched by February this year but was delayed due to elections.

Sources said after a virtual meeting on May 24, a letter from the DEO on June 1, intimated respective schools about release of funds for procuring utensils and availing LPG connection with stoves. The letter had asked the schools to start the special MDM scheme after schools reopened post summer vacation.

However, on Saturday the schools were asked to wait till further instructions. District education officer and district project coordinator for Samagra Siksha Abhiyan AK Pradhan said some technical issues are yet to be sorted out, adding the special MDM scheme would be introduced shortly.

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