Telangana

Eggs off the mid-day meal menu

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With the government not releasing wages and honorarium for the last six months, workers decide not to serve egg to students

Egg will no more be part of the mid-day meal served to the students of government schools following non-payment of wages and honorarium to mid-day meal workers since the last six months in the district.

With several mid-day meal workers facing huge debts, they were unable to serve egg and a majority of them have even asked the government school managements to stop serving food to students from October onwards.

Earlier, egg was served twice a day. Recently, the State government issued orders to provide egg thrice a week on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from September 1 onwards.

Following severe drought in Telangana State this year, the district administration had implemented the mid-day meal scheme even in summer in 19 mandals for the benefit of the students, but wages weren’t paid to the workers.

“When we are unable to include vegetables and pulses in the meal owing to price rise and non-payment of wages, how can the government expect us to serve egg thrice a week,” asked Begum, a worker at Government High School at Sapthagiri Colony where about 300 children are served mid-day meals every day.

“I incurred a huge debt serving mid-day meals to schoolchildren, but the government has not released our wages and honorarium even after six months,” she rued.

Lalitha, another worker at GHS Mankammathota, said they decided to stop serving midday meal and work as daily wage labourers so that they can at least get a daily wage of about Rs. 300.

Debt burden

“Despite working hard and incurring debt to provide food to schoolchildren, the government is unable to increase our honorarium which is only Rs. 1,000 a month,” she complained.

M. Prathap Reddy, headmaster of ZPHS Nallagonda in Thimmapur mandal, said women SHG members also staged a dharna in front of their school as they had given a loan of Rs. 50,000 to mid-day meal workers, who were unable to repay the same.

During that period, teachers collected Rs. 20,000 and gave it to mid-day meal workers to clear their loan, he said and added that the workers were leading a pathetic life without wages since the last six months.

When contacted, District Education Officer (DEO) S. Srinivasa Chary said that they had cleared all the bills, but owing to freezing of budget at the district treasury office, the workers were unable get their wages and honorarium.

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Printable version | Dec 14, 2019 8:14:31 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/telangana/Eggs-off-the-mid-day-meal-menu/article14639947.ece

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