Jagatsinghpur, July 18 (LocalWire): Thousands of government-run school children under Erasama block have been forced to go hungry since the past few weeks due to non-supply of rice under the mid-day meal scheme.
Guardians and teachers have strongly criticized the negligence of the mass education department and the district administration’s apathy towards the children.
Despite availability of funds, rice meant for MDM scheme has not been supplied to schools. Irregularities in selection of transporting agencies, procedural lapses and negligence alongwith the callous attitude of officials are the main cause for nearly 1735 students of 29 schools going hungry.
The schools severely affected are Balitutha Upper Primary School, Abhyachandpur primary school, Damapda Primary School, Dhinkia Primary School, Kanitohal primary school, Haippa Primary school, Kendurisal primary school, Maa Jagulai Primary school, Nachipur primary school, Harippa High School, CRK High School, Panchpulli Primary School, Patana project school, Radhapadam Nodal school, Brindban Bihari High School and other schools of Erasama block.
A teacher on conditions of annaomity said, ‘62 students study at Hajipur Nodal School. We managed MDM meal by borrowing rice from local shop keepers for three days but he stopped supply of rice on credit due to delay in payment and the children are going without food since.’
Other teachers alleged that a racket is active for supply of rice under MDM meal.
They alleged that the transporting agent that the administration approved, supplies rice to different schools in the last week of every month instead of the first week causing deficit of rice. This agency also cheated headmasters by supplying less quantity of rice.
They also alleged that in April, the schools had reopened but nearly 221 primary and high schools were not supplied rice and nearly 400 quintals of rice was misappropriated by the transporting agency with the knowledge of higher officials.
Guardians sought the intervention of senior officials of the school and mass education department to check large number of irregularities pertaining to the scheme in the district.
Block education officer, Erasama, Jayant Kumar Ray confessed,‘the department has received allegations of MDM being affected in several schools. Steps have been taken to supply rice to these schools as soon as possible’.