15 lakh students yet to receive foodgrain promised by govt.

More than a fortnight after the Department of Primary and Secondary Education issued orders stating that all students in government and aided schools will receive foodgrain for 21 days during the lockdown, lakhs of households in Bengaluru alone have still not received them.

The reasons range from stock failing to arrive at schools from where parents have to pick them up to the absence of headmasters or teachers to collect the grain.

Across the State, 15 lakh of the total 50 lakh students in government and aided primary and high schools are yet to get their rations, as per data from the Department of Public Instruction.

A bulk of the students are in Bengaluru, where schools get their midday meals from non-government organisations. While lower primary school students are supposed to get 2.1 kg of rice and 1 kg and 50 grams of toor dal, higher primary and high school students are entitled to 3.1 kg of rice and 1.5 kg of toor dal.

The Hindu spoke to several parents and headmasters of government schools in the city who claim that they are yet to receive the promised rations.

Parents, too, have been visiting the schools regularly and say that managements are uncertain about when they will get the stock. Some teachers are asking parents to ask for rations at public distribution centres.

In many cases, there is no one to distribute the grain in schools. A spokesperson for Akshaya Patra Foundation, which caters midday meals to schools in Bengaluru said: “We are ready with the stock and want to finish distribution in a week. But even when we send our vehicles, teachers are not coming forward to receive it,” he said, adding that they have written to the government asking what needs to be done in such cases.

A teacher at a government school in North Bengaluru on condition of anonymity, admitted that lack of personnel in schools to collect the grain is one of the problems. “Currently, there are no transport facilities for teachers to reach the school during the lockdown. How is it possible for us then to come to school and distribute rations,” he said.

Many families are worried about whether they will get the promised stock.

A mother, who is a daily-wage labourer in Kamakshipalya, said: “I haven’t got the rations yet. For now, I get my supply from the ration shop, but that will not be enough.”

K.G. Jagadeesha, Commissioner for Public Instruction, said: “We will ensure that all children get the foodgrain. We have even told teachers that if the child has gone back to their village, they can collect their share from the government school in that village,” he said.

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Printable version | Jul 7, 2020 9:48:21 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/15-lakh-students-yet-to-receive-foodgrain-promised-by-govt/article31273983.ece

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