The Karnataka State Midday Meal Workers Federation has opposed the State Governments move to privatise the noon meal scheme.
Speaking at a district-level convention here on Sunday, State federation president H.K. Ramachandrappa said that the privatisation of the scheme would only deprive several midday meal workers of employment.
These workers are already paid meagre remuneration. Most come from below the poverty line (BPL) families. If the Government privatised the scheme, it will be a severe blow to these people, he said.
He said that the scheme guidelines clearly accorded priority to women belonging to the Schedule Castes and Schedule Tribes, widows, and the poor for employment under the scheme. The Government cannot violate these guidelines, he said.
On the alleged misuse of funds by the International Society of Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) which supplies midday meals to schools on a contract basis, Mr. Ramachandrappa urged the Government to monitor ISKCONs work until the Cabinet Sub-Committee submitted its report.
The Government has constituted the sub-committee to probe the issue.
State general secretary N. Shivanna demanded that the State Government extend the same benefits to State midday meal workers as those extended by the Tamil Nadu Government. The Tamil Nadu Government gives workers higher remuneration, retirement benefits and relief in case of accidents, he said. Mr. Shivanna said that instead of extending at least minimum facilities to workers, the State Government had been trying to snatch even their jobs.
The organisation has threatened to intensify agitation if the Government failed to meet their demands.
Madhoswamy, former MLA, and Chandrappa, All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) leader, were present.