UP: 81 students served 1 liter milk, diluted with water
Just months after Mirzapur's infamous roti-and-salt mid-day meal episode came to light, another case of mismanagement in government's mid-day meal scheme, this time from Uttar Pradesh's Sonbhadra, has surfaced. Shockingly, as many as 81 students of a state-run school in Sonbhadra were given a meagre 1 liter milk, diluted with a bucketful of water, in the name of mid-day meal. Here are more details.
A video of the incident, reportedly filmed by a member of the Gram Panchayat, has been widely shared on the social media. The video shows the cook at the government primary school in Chopan, boiling water in a large aluminium container, before adding milk to it from a one-liter packet. She then gave the milk to students, surrounding her with steel glasses in hand.
We live in a country where our govts have thousands of crores to spend on advertising but none to feed our children.— Zeba Warsi (@Zebaism) November 29, 2019
Watch 1 litre of milk being shared by 80+ children by mixing lots and lots of water.
Location: Sonbhadra, UP #Hunger pic.twitter.com/90Exn3Zlak
Reportedly, senior education officer Gorakhnath Patel said that there wasn't enough milk at the school, hence they were directed by the authorities to mix water in it in a "balanced quantity". "I am also being told that teachers had gone to get more milk but meanwhile pictures were clicked and distributed," Patel said, adding that action will be taken against the culprits.
However, block education officer Mukesh Kumar said, "There was enough milk in the school and we later redistributed the milk to the children. The first time, there was an error, but it was rectified immediately." Meanwhile, the cook, Phoolwanti, who distributed the milk to the children, claimed that she was given only one packet of milk.
The said school reportedly has 171 students. However, around 81 were present on Wednesday, when the horrific incident took place. According to the Sonbhadra district magistrate, an FIR has now been lodged against a contractual teacher, for not ensuring adequate supply of milk. Further, another teacher has also been suspended from duty, for failing to inform the administration about the shortage of milk supply.
In fact, just last week, Union Minister of Human Resource Development, Ramesh Pokhriyal said that the highest number of complaints with regard to mid-day meals come from Uttar Pradesh. 14 out of 52 cases, reported from across the country, were from UP.
It should be noted that this is not the first time that such an incident has come up. Previously, in August, a viral video showed kids at a government-run school in UP's Mirzapur being served rotis and salt, for mid-day meal. Subsequently, headmaster in-charge of the school was suspended. Ironically, Yogi Adityanath-led UP government booked the journalist who filmed the video of the incident.