Staff Reporter

Ganjam administration plans to implement mid-day meal scheme with help of Nandi foundation

BERHAMPUR: The proposed centralised kitchen project for mid-day meal of schools in Ganjam district by the Nandi foundation of Hyderabad has begun to face stiff opposition.

The Women Self-Help Groups (WSHG) of Ganjam district, district Congress and some legal experts are opposed to this project which is being promoted by the district administration. The WSHGs allege that this centralised project would rob them of their income source. It may be noted that at present the WSHGs are being deployed to cook food at schools for the mid-day meal. The representatives of the WSHGs from different parts of the district had demonstrated in front of the office of the Revenue Divisional Commissioner (RDC), southern division in the city on Wednesday. They had demanded that the district administration scarp the centralised mid-day meal project taken up with the Nandi foundation.

The Ganjam district Congress has also started opposing the project. District women’s Congress president, Sanghamitra Dalai took part in the agitation of the WSHGs. According to her the women’s Congress activists would take up agitation throughout the district if the Nandi foundation project was not shelved within 15 days.

Legal expert and Congress leader C.R.Dash feels that the district administration’s decision to hand over a large patch of land of a trust to the Nandi foundation to build up its kitchen may face legal hassles.

The land near the Berhampur railway station, which was handed over to the Nandi foundation, is the property of a religious charitable trust. Whether the conditions of the trust deed were maintained while handing over its land was to be investigated, Mr Dash said.

As the trust was almost defunct, the Ganjam district Collector had taken over the trust. “But as per the law if it is to be handed over for any other purpose other than the conditions of the trust the Collector had to approach the court of law with sufficient justification, which has not been done”, Mr Dash said. The trust deed includes maintenance of the sanctity of a temple inside the campus of the said land which can be violated by small things like cooking of non-veg food, added Mr Dash.

As per the project Nandi foundation would have a mechanised centralised kitchen in the city.

The food prepared at this kitchen would be served to 1,03,696 students of 692 primary schools of six blocks of Ganjam district.

Students of 19 primary schools of the city would also get their mid-day meal packets from this project.