Unhappy with the quality of items being supplied as part of the Midday Meal Programme in the city government schools, the Chandigarh administration has decided to hire new organisations to improve the standard of food. Iskcon Food Relief Foundation, Gurgaon, and Akshaya Patra in Ahmedabad (Gujarat) have been shortlisted by the administration. A team of officials, led by Deputy District Officer Sukhneer Sekhon, had visited Gurgaon and Ahmedabad to taste the food samples.
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Confirming the visit, Sekhon said: “We had visited the two sites to check the kind of food they prepare for the mid day meal. In a day or two, we would finalise the proposal and send it to the higher authorities.”
At present, the midday meal being served in the government schools is prepared in Dr Ambedkar Institute of Hotel Management Catering and Nutrition, Sector 42, Chandigarh, and Institute of Hotel Management and Catering technology, Sector 42.
Apart from these two institutes, Shivalik View Hotel, Sector 17, under the Chandigarh Industrial and Tourism Development Corporation (CITCO) and seven government school kitchens – Government Model Senior Secondary School (GMSSS) Sector 47, Timber Market 26, Sector 10, Sector 15, Sector 8, and Government Model High School in Sector 35 also make the midday meal for the students.
The proposal and details about the official visit by the team were also discussed with MP Kirron Kher at the 2nd District Level Committee meeting held on Monday for monitoring of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, Midday Meal and Rashtriya Madhyamk Shiksha.
Deputy director, midday meal, Saroj Mittal said: “We want the students to have food made of wheat, which at present is served less in the schools. As soon as the proposal is submitted, we will ask the authorities to finalise one out of the two.”
In the past, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) had slammed the CITCO for compromising with the safety and hygiene standards of midday meal and various schools had also pointed out sub-standard quality of food being served. Meals are prepared and supplied daily in schools that are consumed by about 1 lakh students.
Director School Education Rubinderjit Singh Brar said: “I will also make a visit to Akshaya Patra headquarters in Bangalore and we are in process of finalising the proposal to include new organisations. We can include both the organisations to prepare the midday meal. Some of the present organisations preparing the meal have indicated that they want to withdraw from the programme.”