Step taken in the wake of death of 22 children in Bihar

In the wake of the mid-day meal disaster in Bihar which led to the death of 22 children, district officials under the Department of General Education in the State have been directed to conduct monthly quality check in schools and submit reports on the same.

In a circular issued by the department in this regard on Thursday, noon-meal feeding committee headed by Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) president and school headmaster had been entrusted with the task to implement the scheme.

The committee is also responsible for preparing the daily menu and to ensure the quality of the food before it is served to the children.

Monthly reports on the functioning of the noon meal scheme will have to be submitted by the committee in consultation with the school authorities and school management committee. The committee will have to ensure its presence during the distribution of special rice and maintain records of the various transactions in connection with the purchase and supply of food items for the meal.

It will also look into the appointment of cooks and ensure hygiene in kitchens and store rooms.

The school authorities should mandatorily maintain registers, including those recording the attendance and accounts related to the scheme, the circular said.

Meanwhile, officials of the Food Safety Department conducted a State-wide inspection in 50 government schools and Anganwadis on Wednesday. The inspection continued for the second day on Thursday in which 67 schools and 64 Anganwadis were inspected. Nineteen food samples were collected during the inspection which will be send for testing. The officials closed down a kitchen at the G.V. Raja Sports School in Thiruvananthapuram, which according to the inspection squad was found to be operating in unhygienic condition.

Further permission would be granted only after the anomalies were rectified, an official at the Office of Commissioner of Food Safety said.

Complaints regarding the noon-meal scheme and the distribution of food to children in Anganwadis can be reported to the Food Safety Commissioner using the toll free number 1800 425 1125.

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