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Over 7,000 to benefit from Free Breakfast Scheme in Vellore, nearby districts

Schools in backward and remote areas with adequate student strength shortlist for the initiative’s first phase

September 16, 2022 08:24 pm | Updated 08:24 pm IST - VELLORE

Handlooms and Textiles Minister R. Gandhi feeding a student at the Government Primary School in Arcot town near Ranipet on Friday. 

Handlooms and Textiles Minister R. Gandhi feeding a student at the Government Primary School in Arcot town near Ranipet on Friday.  | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

More than 7,000 students of Classes 1-5 in 72 government schools in Vellore, Ranipet, Tiruvannamalai and Tirupattur will benefit from the Free Breakfast Scheme that started on Friday, a day after the initiative was rolled out by Chief Minister M.K. Stalin.

Officials said schools that serve in backward and remote areas and had adequate student strength were shortlisted for the scheme during the first phase. In Vellore, only three blocks – Vellore Rural, Urban and Katpadi – out of eight were selected for the initiative.

In neighbouring Tiruvannamalai, Ranipet and Tirupattur districts, only one block in each of these districts was selected for the scheme during the first phase. “The idea is to focus on the most backward and hilly areas. In fact, among the 18 blocks in Tiruvannamalai, only Jamanamaradoor block was selected for the scheme in the first phase due to its remoteness,” said P.A. Syed Sulaiman, Project Officer, Mahalir Thittam (Tiruvannamalai).

Among the four districts, Vellore has the highest number of schools – 48 covering 3,432 students – mainly in the Vellore Corporation limits, followed by Tiruvannamalai, which covers 1,887 students in 10 schools in Jawadhu Hills block. Tirupattur has a total of 11 schools, covering 1,175 students at Vaniyambadi (627) and Ambur (548).

In Ranipet, Arcot town is the only block where the initiative has been rolled out for 661 students in six schools. The district has six blocks, which includes Arakkonam, Sholinghur, Walajah, Ranipet and Mel Visharam.

Officials said common kitchens were being built for the purpose in these blocks. On an average, each block will have at least one common kitchen. Vellore has three such kitchens. However, free breakfast for students in Jawadhu Hills will be cooked in each selected village due to the difficulty in transportation.

As per the norms, every student is to be provided a cooked meal of 150-500 g, such as upma, kichidi or pongal, from Monday to Friday, while rava kesari or semiya kesari will be added to the menu on Friday. Millets will also be part of the menu for at least two days a week. The breakfast will be served between 8 a.m. and 8.30 a.m.

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