PMK president Anbumani Ramadoss on Monday sought to know whether the State government was planning to shut down 28,000 noon meal centres under the guise of reorganising the noon meal scheme.
With the scheme’s workers demanding the filling of vacancies and a wage hike, and the State government being appreciated for starting a breakfast scheme in 1,545 primary schools, there is a need to expand the scheme, not shut down the centres, he said.
Mr. Ramadoss said certain orders given by the Social Welfare Department’s joint director had raised fears that the noon meal centres could be shut down. “In the orders, directions were given to local bodies in both urban and rural areas to submit data on the list of government buildings in which one or more noon meal centres are functioning and those that are located within 3 km of another noon meal centre, and submit it to the Collector’s office by Monday morning,” he said
According to him, the reason for cooking the meals inside the school compound is because serving the meals hot is necessary as it improves digestion and regulates body temperature and improves absorption of nutrients in the body. It also kills the bacteria in the food.
“If the meals are cooked in one place and distributed in other areas, it would also have an effect on hygiene,” he said, adding, “As far as the noon meal scheme workers are concerned, they may end up losing their jobs in centres which are shut down.”