The death of 22 children after eating mid-day meal in a primary school in Bihar’s Saran district speaks volumes about the indifference of the administration. The State’s Education Minister should take moral responsibility for the incident and resign. Such accountability is the need of the hour to prevent Ministers from distancing themselves from the failure of their ministries.
V. Rama Rao,
The tragedy is the result of poor political leadership, bureaucratic apathy, utter disregard for child rights, negligence and corruption. Mid-day meal was a noble programme meant to encourage children to attend school and raise their nutritional levels. But implementation leaves a lot to be desired. Since the mid-day meal is a Centrally-sponsored scheme, the State governments do not implement it with much zeal. Complaints about the quality of food served to children in schools have been galore. We have seen media reports of rice served with dead lizards and rats being found where the food is cooked.
NGOs can be given a greater role in scrutinising the quality of food and hygiene, and auditing accounts so that a better stakeholder approach is adopted. Checks should be tightened to prevent corruption. Let us not forget that children are the future of our nation.
The shocking incident has exposed the tremendous lapse in the implementation and monitoring of the UPA government’s ambitious scheme. Although reports of students falling ill after eating mid-day meals have been common, they have not made any difference to the lackadaisical approach of those responsible for implementing the scheme.
Mukesh Kumar Singh,
The death of 22 children belonging to the age group of 8-12 years, after being fed food contaminated with pesticides, is appalling. The Opposition should not politicise the issue. The State government should assume responsibility for serving quality mid-day meals and become accountable. The Saran tragedy is not just an instance of apathy; it is an inhuman act.
The unfortunate incident shows how careless the local administration is. It is obvious that proper measures were not taken to ensure safety and hygiene.
We need to relieve teachers of the responsibility of managing mid-day meals in schools because they hardly find time to look into the quality of the food served. This results in poor, unhygienic and stale food being served to children.
Secondly, storage facilities in schools are very poor. There is no proper cooking facility, no hygiene, no monitoring and no skilled manpower to deal with the essential task.
Adfar Shah & Aparna Dixit,
Mid-day meal was introduced to benefit students belonging to the poor and underprivileged families. But the programme is not implemented in many States with the required level of professionalism. The practice of teachers checking the quality of food before serving it to the students has been conveniently ignored. It is evident that the authorities in the Bihar school have been caught napping. This episode should be a wake-up call to the authorities and officials in all the States where the scheme is in force. What can be more heart-breaking than to see the end of young lives in places considered the temples of learning?
H. Gurudatt Somayaji,