Target is to serve food to 49,994 children but only 11,432 children are turning up
It’s summer vacation now and schools are closed. However, midday meals are still being served in a few schools in taluks identified as “drought-affected” in Mysore district.
As per the government’s diktat, 539 schools have been kept open to serve meals to children. The target is to serve food to 49,994 children in parts of Mysore, T. Narsipur, Nanjangud and K.R. Nagar taluks, which, according to authorities here, are drought-affected.
However, only 11,432 children are turning up at the school every afternoon, sources in the Department of Public Instruction here said.
The heads of schools (identified for the meal programme in view of drought) have been directed to be present at the school even if children stay away.
Children will be served meals till May 29, the day schools reopen. Thereafter, the midday meal scheme — Akshara Dasoha — will go on regularly in all schools.
“Food is cooked based on student strength. We cannot compel children to come to school or their parents to send them as it is summer vacation now. It is left to their discretion as the identified schools will cook food daily as per requirements,” an official in the DPI told The Hindu.
The Akshara Dasoha scheme had been extended only to those areas where dryland farming was widespread. Schools in irrigated areas had been left out, he said.Taluk-wise
Of 125 schools in Mysore taluk, 64 schools were running the scheme as children were going to other schools. In T. Narsipur taluk, of 224 schools, 210 were running the scheme; in Nanjangud taluk, of 115 schools, 110 were running the scheme, and in K.R. Nagar taluk, of 75 schools, 52 were running the scheme, the sources said.
Rajkumar Khatri, Principal Secretary, Primary and Secondary Education, visited schools in Yelwal and Chikke Gowdana Koppal near Mysore recently to check the implementation of the scheme.
Sources said that Dr. Khatri interacted with the children and collected information from officials on the status of the scheme in other schools.
Around 2,422 schools and 2,63,570 children are covered under the midday meal scheme in the district.
The number of children covered is more in government schools and is likely to go up when admissions begin.
ISKCON and a math from Ravandoor in Periyapatna taluk supply midday meals to 78 and 13 schools respectively.