Tamil Nadu

‘Children should get nutritious meals irrespective of natural calamities or pandemic’

The Madras High Court on Friday directed the State government to put in place an exigency or emergency plan for uninterrupted supply of nutritious meals to eligible children of government and government aided private schools irrespective of the State being hit by a natural calamity, disaster or pandemic.

In an interim order passed on a public interest litigation petition, first Division Bench of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice P.D. Audikesavalu wrote: “While it is hoped that the worst is behind us, what the pandemic would have taught humanity is not to take anything for granted and be prepared for the worst.”

They said the State could prepare a plan of action to deal with the issue of supply of nutritious food to needy children even if there was a natural calamity or a disaster. The judges stated that a ‘Plan B’ or ‘Plan C’ should always be ready to ensure that vulnerable children and young adults do not go without nutritious meals.

The Bench adjourned further hearing on the PIL petition, filed by Citizen Consumer and Civic Action Group, a non-governmental organisation, by four weeks and directed the Social Welfare Secretary to file a status report before the court along with an exigency or emergency plan that the State could follow in times of need.

Senior counsel N.L. Rajah, representing the petitioner NGO, brought it to the notice of the court that provision of hot cooked nutritious meals to needy children could not be suspended for years together especially in the light of the National Food Security Act of 2013. He said the scheme was resumed partially only after court orders.

On the other hand, State Government Pleader P. Muthukumar informed the court that a decision had been taken to resume physical classes for students of all age groups from November 1 and that the government had decided to restart the Puratchi Thalaivar MGR Nutritious Meal Programme for all beneficiaries from day one itself.

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Printable version | Jan 23, 2022 5:59:44 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/children-should-get-nutritious-meals-irrespective-of-natural-calamities-or-pandemic/article37131578.ece

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