Shortage of funds hits mid-day meal service in Karnal schools
It has been a month since offline classes for the new academic session began but the mid-day meal service is yet to be resumed in a majority of the government schools. This despite the fact that the Education Department has already ordered resumption of the service, said an official.
After the Covid outbreak, when schools were shut down, the mid-day meal service was also discontinued in April 2020 as a precautionary measure. Sources said the account for the mid-day meal service was also closed and still not re-opened.
There are 480 middle and primary schools across the district where over one lakh students are supposed to be given mid-day meal, but the lack of funds has hit the mid-day meal service.
During a visit to some schools, it was found that the kitchens were locked and the utensils had not been used for a long time. In some schools, cooks were not being given salary.
Deepak Goswami, who is a member of the mid-day meal committee in Karnal, said due to the shortage of funds, the service is yet to be resumed in a majority of government schools. During online classes, the government had started the transfer of funds for mid-day meal in the accounts of students, but funds are not transferred to students after August 2021. A few schools have restarted this service as they have some funds.
One of the teachers said the supply of ration is yet to be made, due to which they could not start it. Funds are also not transferred, he added.
Another teacher of Nilokheri block said almost a month after the starting of new session with offline classes, this service could not be resumed. The government should look into the matter so that the students could get the facility.
Officials claimed that they had started the supply of ration and the service had been resumed in some schools. “Mid-day meal service has been resumed in some of the schools. We are hopeful that the service will be resumed completely in a couple of days,” said Rohtash Verma, District Elementary Education Officer (DEEO).