Nearly a week after videos, purportedly showing a Sonbhadra government school staff mixing one litre of milk in a bucket of water and distributing among 81 students as mid-day meal, surfaced, a headmaster of a primary school in Machhli Shahar area of Jaunpur district was suspended on Thursday reportedly over similar allegations.
Bankey Lal Pandey was suspended a day after an allegation came to fore that only 500 gram of milk powder was diluted in water and distributed among 63 students as part of the mid-day meal in the government-run school on Wednesday and an enquiry was ordered.
Asked about the allegation, District Magistrate Dinesh Kumar Singh said he sent the Basic Shiksha Adhikari (BSA) to look into the matter. “Till I get a report from him, I wouldn’t comment on the issue.”
Rajendra Singh, BSA, Jaunpur, who visited the school and conducted the enquiry on Thursday, however, claimed the allegations were not found to be true. “The headmaster has been suspended as he was not punctual and was absent without seeking leave on Wednesday,” said the BSA.
He added, “Sometimes milk is not available due to some issues, therefore the students are served milk powder mixed with water. This is allowed.”
“But the allegation of 500 gram of milk powder served to 63 students was found to be false. I went to the school today (Thursday) and questioned the students and other staff members about headmaster Bankey Lal Pandey. The school staff showed me three empty boxes of milk powder weighing 500 gram each. They told me that 1.5 kg of milk powder mixed in water was distributed among the 63 students. I suspended the headmaster for other irregularities in the school,” he added.
He further said there were complaints against him that he is not regular. “He was not present in the school on Wednesday without informing his seniors.”
Meanwhile, Assistant BSA Shailpati Yadav, who accompanied the BSA, contradicted the claim regarding the amount of milk powder mixed in water. “There were two boxes of milk powder of 500 gram each available at the school. These were served to the students in the mid-day meal after mixing in water. When we went there (school), we found that one kilogram of milk powder was served to the students on Wednesday,” said Yadav.
The school has a strength of 155 students.