Noon meal workers worried about decline in quality of stock

Noon meal workers have raised concerns about deterioration in the quality of the stocked provisions in the free meal centres attached to the panchayat union schools over the last three months after the COVID-19 lockdown took effect.

The cooking oil has a shelf life of only three months, and at very many centres, the stocked rice and dal have begun to rot.

The provisions will have to be discarded in the interests of the health of the children, if the noon meal centres are not permitted to resume operations, Rajendran, Secretary of Tiruchi unit of Tamil Nadu Noon Meal Workers' Association said.

A decision was taken at the State-level meeting of the Association earlier this week to conduct protests in front of the Panchayat Union Offices on July 7 demanding resumption of the operation of noon meal centres, Mr. Rajendran said.


The protest has been prompted by the purported move by the government to transfer cash to the families of the beneficiary children during the lockdown period.

The amount the government intends to transfer to the families of the children is meagre, as the value of provisions already supplied to the noon meal centres is not taken into consideration.

The sanctioned amount for vegetables and groceries alone is intended to be given to the families. It works out to less than ₹2 per day per individual child, for standards I to V and below ₹3 per day for every child from VI to X standards.

"The scenario in the villages is quite pathetic as the families are unable to provide even one square meal to the children.The government must let us do the cooking and permit the students to take the food home for consumption by following the social distancing norms," Mr. Rajendran said.

In doing so, the noon meal workers will also have a sense of participation in ameliorating the sufferings of the socioeconomic downtrodden people in the villages, he said.

The line of thinking of noon meal workers is that the government could even think of dovetailing the activities of the community kitchens in rural areas with the functioning of the noon meal centres.

Several thousands of families in villagess will be relieved from worry of hunger if the noon meal centres are permitted to cook food for the families of the student beneficiaries , Mr. Rajendran said.

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Printable version | Aug 9, 2020 11:47:27 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Tiruchirapalli/noon-meal-workers-worried-about-decline-in-quality-of-stock/article31966349.ece

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