While Akshaya Patra Foundation has sought more land to build infrastructure to extend its mid-day meals scheme in the district, the State government has sent a circular asking schools to run the mid-day meals scheme on its own and not delegate it to non-government organisations.

Proposal

Mangalore North MLA B.A. Mohiuddin Bava told reporters here on Tuesday that a proposal has been made to the Foundation asking it to extend its mid-day meals scheme so that most of students in the district are covered.

“We want the Foundation to extend the coverage from 23,000 to one lakh students. The government provides aid for the mid-day meals scheme but it is not properly implemented because of lack of manpower and other problems,” he said. Mr. Bava said a proposal has been made to the State government to allocate seven acres of land in Surathkal for setting up a new kitchen unit. “The land has been identified in my constituency,” Mr. Bava said.

President of Akshaya Patra Foundation, Mangalore, Karunya Sagara Dasa, said the Foundation has taken up the issue of allocation of land in Surthakal with Revenue Minister Mahadev Prasad. Space was needed for parking around 40 vehicles necessary for transporting food from the centralised kitchen to come up in Surathkal, he said.

‘Don’t rely on NGOs’

Contrary to Mr. Bava claims, a government official, overseeing the mid-day meals scheme, said the State government has asked schools to implement the scheme on their own and not rely on NGOs. “This circular was issued a week ago,” said the official, who did not want to be named.

The official said the circular was based on the directive of the Union Human Resource Development Ministry. The Union Ministry was not happy with the quality of food provided by NGOs.

Presently, as many as 1,98,134 students from 1,428 schools in the district are covered under the State government’s Akshara Dasoha mid-day meals scheme. Of this 21,055 students from 145 schools in the city get mid-day meals from Akshaya Patra Foundation, the official said.

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