Elementary school teachers of Berhampur Municipal Corporation (BMC) area have demanded that the authorities not involve them in Mid-Day Meal (MDM) management and monitoring work.

Their association, Berhampuir Mahanagar Elementary Shikshyak Sangh (BMESS) decided about it at a meeting which had been called up to discuss various issues related to MDM. President of the association, Rajesh Tarini, lauded the recent observation of Allahabad High Court that the duty of schoolteachers was to teach students, not to supervise cooking of meals.

Mr Tarini said the authorities should take note of this remark of the Allahabad High Court and end utilization of teachers in MDM related work. It may be noted that the schools in Berhampur and its adjoining areas are provided MDM from the centralized kitchen of the Naandi Foundation in the city.

On March 6, over 50 children of a primary school at Gothagaon village of Shergarh block had become ill after consumption of MDM provided in that school from this centralized kitchen of Naandi Foundation. After this incident some school teachers had been deputed as duty officers to monitor preparation of MDM in the centralized kitchen of the Naandi Foundation. It had been protested by the teachers, said Mr Tarini. According to him administration has again taken a decision to depute some teachers to monitor and assess quality of food cooked. The BMESS members have threatened to opt for the path of peaceful agitation if authorities press them to do MDM duty.

They alleged that deputing teachers for MDM work when education in schools was hampered due to shortage of teachers was against the interest of students. The BMESS has also urged teachers’ associations of different blocks of the district to take similar decision and get detached from MDM work to dedicate more time and efforts for teaching, said Mr Tarini.