- Nearly 100 students at Mirzapur school ate roti and salt for lunch
- Pulses, rice, rotis, vegetables listed in government's elaborate menu
- UP government says over 1.5 schools get mid-day meals
About 100 students who study in Classes 1 to 8 in a government school in eastern Uttar Pradesh's Mirzapur district were filmed eating rotis and salt as their mid-day meal, under a flagship central government scheme to provide lunch and proper nutrition to scores of children from poor families who study in government schools across the country.
In a video from the Mirzapur school, young children can be seen sitting on the floor of the school corridor, eating rotis with just some salt in their plates.
The website of the Uttar Pradesh mid-day meal authority, the overseeing body for these meals in the state, describes an elaborate menu that is supposed to be served to children at government-run primary schools. It includes pulses rice, rotis and vegetables. Fruits and milk are included on certain days, according to the meal chart.
"Things are bad here. Sometimes, they feed the children salt and rotis. Sometimes salt and rice. When milk comes here on the rare occasion, most of it is never distributed. Bananas are never distributed. It has been like this for over a year now," a parent told a local journalist in an interview at the school.
This clip is from a @UPGovt school in east UP's #Mirzapur . These children are being served what should be a 'nutritious' mid day meal ,part of a flagship govt scheme .On the menu on Thursday was roti + salt !Parents say the meals alternate between roti + salt and rice + salt ! pic.twitter.com/IWBVLrch8A— Alok Pandey (@alok_pandey) August 23, 2019
"I got an inquiry conducted and the incident has been found to be true. Prima facie, it is the fault of the teacher in charge of the school and the supervisor at the gram panchayat. Both have been suspended," Anurag Patel, the top government officer in Mirzapur told NDTV.
Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra hit out at the Uttar Pradesh government. "Students are being served salt and rotis in mid-day meals in a school in Mirzapur. This is the state of affairs of BJP government in Uttar Pradesh. The facilities provided by the government are becoming poor and such treatment towards children is condemnable," the Congress general secretary tweeted in Hindi.
The Uttar Pradesh government says it is providing mid-day meals in over 1.5 lakh primary and middle schools across the state, as of December 2018. Over 1 crore children are supposed to benefit from the scheme. According to the centre, the mid-day meal scheme is designed to provide a minimum of 450 calories per child per day, which should include at least 12 grams of protein too each day. These meals should be served to each child at least 200 days a year.