Two days after children were served diluted milk in an Uttar Pradesh primary school as part of the midday meal, Pakaudi Lal Kol, Apna Dal MP from Robertsganj in Sonebhadra, admitted there is “lethargy” in the governance which is leading to incidents of corruption in midday meals.
Reacting to the latest such incident in which a bucketful of water was mixed in one litre of milk and served to 81 children in a government primary school in Sonebhadra, he said, “I will definitely ensure that action is taken in the matter.”
After the news of the incident went viral on Friday, an assistant teacher was suspended from the school. The cook claimed that she had been told by the teacher to add boiled water to the milk.
Pakaudi Lal said, “Government is working with a clear conscience, but there are some workers who are getting into such businesses. We will take action against them. We will also forward it to the Chief Minister.”
He further said the area where the incident took place is inhabited by Adivasis and people from low-income group. “Such people are vulnerable to exploitation,” he added.
Gram panchayat ward member DevPatia had alleged that a bucket of water was added to one litre of milk and distributed among 81 children in the primary school in Sonebhadra district’s Salaibanwa area on Wednesday.
She said that as per the midday meal menu (MDM), ‘tehri’ (a rice dish) and milk was to be served to the children. One litre of milk was made available to the cook by the school authorities.
Then a bucket of water was added to the milk and it was distributed among the children, she added.
She said that the locals have informed her that such incidents have happened in the past too in that school.
School head ShaileshKanaujia said: “There are 171 children enrolled in the school. Eighty-one children were present on that day. I have the responsibility to look after two schools. Milk had to be arranged for both schools and I could not monitor the quantity of milk that reached the government primary school in Salaibanwa. The cook was provided with the milk, which was distributed among the children and they drank it.”
Basic Shiksha Adhikari (BSA) Gorakhnath Patel said: “As soon as the matter came to my knowledge, I inspected the school and sought information from the school headmaster.
“Such laxity will not be tolerated. A probe has been ordered into the matter. A team of Education Department officials will conduct a probe and submit a report within two days. Strict action will be taken against whosoever is found guilty in the probe.”
Block Education Officer MukeshRai said that he received information from locals that water was added to the milk and served to the children. He said a probe had been ordered into the incident and strict action will be taken so that such instances are never repeated in future.
This is the second such incident related to midday meal in Uttar Pradesh. In August this year, children had been served roti with salt in a school in Mirzapur which led to national outrage.