Mid-day meal scheme in West Bengal now under Centre’s scanner

After the Prime Minister Awas Yojana (PMAY), the implementation of the mid-day meal scheme in West Bengal has come under the scanner of the Central government.

A field inspection team from the Union Education Ministry will be arriving in the state to review the implementation of the scheme.

A communication from the Ministry has already been forwarded to the state secretariat on this count, where all cooperation from the district administration for facilitating the field inspection process has been solicited.

Mid-day meal is the second centrally sponsored scheme whose implementation in West Bengal has come under the scanner of the Union government after PMAY.

Two field inspection teams from the Union Ministry of Rural Development have already conducted an enquiry on this count in East Midnapore and Malda districts.

Another five field inspection teams from the same Ministry are scheduled to visit the state and review the situation in 10 districts.

It is learnt that the field inspection team to review the mid-day meal scheme will have officers from the Union Ministry of Education as well as nutritionists.

The team is expected to review various aspects of the scheme’s implementation, like who are actually getting the benefits; how the state government is reimbursing the schools under it; condition of the infrastructure requirements like kitchens; and the quality of the nutritious food provided to the students.

Besides interacting with the representatives of the implementation authorities on this count, the central field inspection team is also expected to speak to beneficiaries and their guardians.

The team will review the extent of participation by the teachers in making the scheme successful.

It is presumed that the decision to send the central review team has been prompted by mushrooming complaints about the unhygienic method of cooking, including the discovery of lizards and cockroaches in the prepared meals.

There were reports of school kids falling sick after consuming such contaminated meals.

Welcoming the decision to send the central team, BJP’s national vice president and party Lok Sabha member, Dilip Ghosh said that there had been rampant corruption in implementation of the mid-day meal scheme in the state.

“Implementation of every central scheme in the state is tainted with corruption,” he said.

On the other hand, Trinamool Congress state vice-president Jaiprakash Majumdar claimed that sending of such central review teams are actually conspiracies to deprive West Bengal of the legitimate central dues.

“Do they want to deprive the school children in the state of their regular meal?” he questioned.

20230114-144002

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