Schools The Hindu visited had no details on scheme, or supply of powder

As the government prepares to launch the scheme of free distribution of milk to students throughout the State on August 1, schools in Mangalore are ill-prepared for it, finds The Hindu during a a reality check on Wednesday.

“What we know is what is appearing in newspapers. There is no information about how to implement it,” said a government school teacher in Mannagudda. The scheme of giving 150 ml of milk using milk powder will be launched in the district from the Government Model Higher Primary School in Gandhinagar.

On the eve of the scheme’s launch, it became clear that the schools have not been given guidelines about how milk has to be prepared from the milk powder. They do not have vessels necessary to prepare milk or the cooking gas needed for heating. With government and aided schools being supplied mid-day meals by the Akshaya Patra of ISKCON and a few private caterers, cooking is not done in the schools.

Deputy Director of Public Instruction Moses Jayashekar said around two lakh children will be given milk in the district for three days a week. The cook preparing the milk will be given an additional incentive of Rs. 100 per month. The government was giving 59 paise per student to meet other expenses of the scheme.

But the four schools that The Hindu visited on Wednesday had no information, nor supply of milk powder.

Headmistress of a Government School in Urwa said it would be difficult for the school teachers to prepare milk and distribute it. “We will be asking the School Development and Management Committee to do it,” said a teacher from the Mannagudda school where 130 students study.

Education Officer of Akshara Dasoha K.L. Manjula said tomorrow’s launch would be symbolic and further instructions will reach schools along with the milk powder packets later.

No milk powder in the city

The scheme may not reach students of 147 schools in Mangalore and in taluks of Bantwal, which are being provided mid-day meals by the Akshaya Patra Foundation of ISKCON, thanks to the lack of clarity in who should do what.

The State government had wanted the Foundation to take up the task of distributing milk in addition to providing meals for students in Bangalore and Mangalore. But the Foundation sought two months’ time to prepare for it. “Supplying 3,000 litres per day in the (Mangalore) city is big task. We have to prepare for the logistics,” Foundation’s General Manager in Mangalore Nandanacharya Das.

DKMUL Managing Director B.K. Satyaranayara said that right now they will be supplying milk powder to schools not covered by the Foundation.

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