Kolkata, August 19: A controversy broke out on Monday over the mid-day meal menu after students at a government school in West Bengal's Hoogly district were served rice and salt instead of cooked food. Local BJP MP Locket Chatterjee visited Chuchura Balika Bani Mandir, where 600-odd girl students were served plain rice and salt instead of the dishes mentioned in the menu, and accused the Trinamool Congress-run governing body of stealing away mid-day meal fund.
"The official mid-day meal menu includes rice, pulses and soyabean curry. But they are being served only rice and salt. The Trinamool Congress affiliated school committee is stealing money from the mid-day meal funds," said Chatterjee. "This scam has been going on for a long time. According to the records, the school paid Rs 25,000 to buy 5,000 eggs, but the students have never been served eggs. Also, 257 sacks of rice have gone missing from the school. There should be a thorough probe to find out which Trinamool leader has taken these," she said. Karnataka School Kids 'Unhappy' With Mid-Day Meal As Akshaya Patra Foundation Serves Food With No Onion and Garlic.
Some students also admitted they are often serviced rice and salt at school. "Salt and rice is the general menu at the school. We do not get dal or eggs," said a student. State Education Minister Partha Chatterjee condemned the incident and said he had already ordered a departmental inquiry into the matter.
"It is deplorable. Those who are snatching food away from the mouth of young students should face strict punishment. I have already ordered a departmental inquiry into the matter. The offenders will not be spared," he said. However, Chatterjee, who is also the Trinamool Congress Secretary General, refuted the charges against his partymen.
"The arrangement of mid-day meals is overseen by the teachers and the teacher-in charge. The governing body of schools does not have much say in it. Still we are planning to conduct a special inspection of schools," he added.