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Scorching sun takes toll on midday meal scheme

Scorching sun takes toll on midday meal schemeScorching sun takes toll on midday meal scheme
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Over 75 per cent of 1.49 lakh students in Government run schools in 29 drought-hit mandals in the district are not availing midday meal due to scorching heat.

Visakhapatnam: Over 75 per cent of 1.49 lakh students in Government run schools in 29 drought-hit mandals in the district are not availing midday meal due to scorching heat. Though the education department is ready to serve lunch to all students to check dropout rate, majority of the parents are not sending their wards to take lunch due to rising temperatures.

The State government has recently declared 29 mandals in the district as drought-hit and directed the Education Department to continue midday meal scheme in all the schools in the mandals. The government has also directed the department to serve lunch as per the existing menu norms without any changes.

As per the government directions, the department has directed all the headmasters of government schools in 29 mandals to prepare lunch to all the students till further orders. As per the directions, the headmasters of respective schools have made all the arrangements.

As per the government orders, even in summer holidays to schools, the headmasters, in-charges of schools and midday meal workers and cooks are coming to school and preparing lunch for students from April 24 onwards. However, there was no response from the students. According to the statistics, about 12,000 students out of total 1.49 lakh had the lunch every day from April 24 to May 3.

The officials are claiming that the number has increased in the past one week. The higher officials are directing the headmasters of schools to prepare lunch assessing the previous day's attendance. Meanwhile the government issued a stringent warning to headmasters that any irregularities and violation of norms in preparing the midday meal scheme will be dealt with sternly.

"At several schools, a very few numbers of students are coming to lunch. Preparing lunch for very less numbers of students will become a problem to cooks and workers. We have to upload about the number students turning up for meal. We are preparing the lunch based on the previous day turnout only. We have no vessels to prepare food for less number of students," lamented by a headmaster about the summer midday meal scheme.

While confirming the poor response to summer midday meal scheme, District Educational Officer B Lingeswara Reddy said that according to the government directions, the department has made arrangements to serve the lunch to all the students in 29 drought-hit mandals. In fact, the number of students having lunch has improved from 12,000 (initially) to about 30,000, Lingeswara Reddy told The Hans India.

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