Telangana: No mid-day meals yet, poor kids miss nutrition, studies
- The mid-day meals scheme not being implemented since March
- Need for alternative, else there might be rise in child labour cases
- Nearly 30% of schoolchildren return with families to native places
Hyderabad: Tens and thousands of government schoolchildren are yet to get mid-day meal even after the Telangana Food Commission asked the State Education Department (SED) to implement the Mid-day Meals Scheme (MDM) four months ago.
According to the SED sources, the MDM is being implemented through Akshaya Patra in Hyderabad, Ranga Reddy and Medak districts. The kitchens of Akshaya Patra - one at Kandi and another at Narsingi, that supply food to schools have remained closed since March. The MDM official daily school reporting status confirms that currently the scheme is not being implemented throughout the state.
Speaking to The Hans India, M Anjaneyulu, the president of Telangana state United Teachers Federation (UTF), said that the state government has not considered an alternative solution to feed the children. An easier way would have been providing ration coupons to their parents, to at least draw rice from civil supplies shops to meet their nutritional needs. If there is no financial support, the cases of child labour will likely shoot up."
Rasoolpura Government High School Headmaster Jeevan Prakash said, "Nearly 30 per cent of government schoolchildren migrated with their families to their native places after schools were shut in the view of the pandemic. The last mid-meal served to children by the government was on March 15. Till now, the State government hasn't issued notification. Anganwadis centers can be used as a nodal point to distribute food to the children in the respective localities."
Akshay Kumar, a social activist said, "In pandemic, the Government of Telangana has not issued any notification or a plan of action to provide mid-day meals. About 90 per cent of the government schools' children go empty stomach and the condition may likely get worse in coming days."
However, education officials from Hyderabad and Rangareddy districts clarified that the ration that remaining from March has been distributed. "There's no notification from the government to re-commence mid-day meal operations. We haven't been asked by the State authorities to figure out alternative ways like feeding school children through Angwanwadis or giving money or providing ration kits," they added.