A condolence meeting for victims of the Bihar mid-day meal tragedy at Raj Ghat on Wednesday became a platform for raising complaints about the lack of hygiene in the mid-day meal distribution scheme in the national Capital.
A large number of students belonging to government and civic body schools, along with their parents, who came together under the platform of an NGO JOSH (Joint Operation for Social Help), talked about the need for improving the quality of food provided through the food scheme. With their mouths covered with black cloth as a mark of protest, they expressed their solidarity with the victims.
Students from the Rajakiya Sarvodaya Bal Vidyalaya, Trilokpuri, alleged that food served to them was “often undercooked or almost raw”. They also said that the vessels in which the food was brought to the school were “very dirty”.
A parent, Dimple, whose daughter studies in Janki Devi Sarvodaya Kanya Vidalaya, said: “Why is the Government mum over the issue of lack of hygiene in the mid-day meal scheme. We do not know to whom we should complain.”
The students and their parents demanded that the budget for mid-day meal scheme be increased and a proper monitoring system be put in place for its proper implementation.
Aheli Choudhary of JOSH said that after the tragedy in Bihar, people were talking about centralised kitchen as is the case in Delhi. “But what we forget is that in the case of centralised kitchen there is no accountability of those who prepare the food. Besides, there is no ownership and scope for intervention by those who serve the food,” she said.