: Odisha Human Rights Commission (OHRC) has directed the State government to submit a report on repeated incidences of contaminated food served to students under Mid Day Meal scheme.
OHRC issued the direction acting on a complaint lodged by human rights activists Biswapriya Kanungo and Bijay Kumar Panda, who alleged that the implementation of MDM scheme was pathetic.
“MDM scheme, an important step towards stopping dropouts and addressing malnourishment, has become a mess in the State. Regular reports of contaminated food being served to students are seen in newspapers. We had drawn the attention of the OHRC and sought its intervention to ensure proper implementation of the scheme,” said Mr. Kanungo.
Discovery of insects and reptiles in rice and dal stocks had been reported by newspapers a on daily basis and on many occasions, students had to be admitted in hospital en masse after consuming infected food in Khurda and Dhenkanal districts, he said.
Activists had demanded that an independent expert committee should examine measures taken in MDM schemes to ensure healthy food is served in schools.
The Commission wanted to know if guidelines were formulated under MDM scheme. In Odisha, 51,89,057 students in 62,549 primary and upper primary schools are provided with meals during lunch time. While rice is a permanent feature of daily meal, students get mixed dal curry (Dalma) and egg curry on different days. It is, however, alleged that sometimes ‘old and rotten’ stocks of rice are supplied to schools.