Midday meals could not be served in over 4,600 schools affecting nearly 10 lakh students for the second consecutive day on Friday in Bihar due to primary school teachers boycotting the duties.
“As per our reports, midday meals could not be served in over 4,600 schools across the state out of a total of 70,000 schools covered by the programme. About 10 lakh students have been deprived of the food due to boycott,” Director Bihar midday meal scheme R. Lakshamanan told PTI.
Sources in the Education department said that midday meal supply was disrupted for the second day in many schools in Saran, Purnia, Sheohar and Araria districts among others.
Dharmasati Gandaman primary school, where 23 children had died after eating poisonous midday meal on last Tuesday, is in Saran district.
While the government figures claim that around 20 per cent are affected by boycott, Bihar Primary School Teachers Association, which is spearheading the boycott agitation, claimed the food is not served in almost 95 per cent of the schools of the state due to primary teachers agitation.
“Midday meal scheme has been launched in almost 95 per cent of the schools of Bihar as per our information,” Association president Brajnandan Sharma said.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar appealed to the teachers to cooperate in successful run of the midday meal scheme for which there has been directions from the Supreme Court too.
“The government agrees that basic job of the primary teachers is to teach and not supervise cooking of meals but till some alternative arrangements are made they should cooperate in successful run of the scheme,” he told reporters in Assembly premises.
A total of 70,000 schools of Bihar were covered under the midday meal scheme benefiting 1.40 crore children.
Association president Mr. Sharma said that the state government has not invited them for talks to redress their problems.
On government giving reference of the Apex Court ruling, he said the court did not said that primary teachers should be entrusted with the task of supervising cooking of food for the scheme and testing it, adding that the Allahabad High Court has made this clear.