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Midday meals cooked by dalits go waste

Jun 7, 2011

A dalit chief minister in Mayawati
has not changed the deep-seated caste bias
in schools of Uttar Pradesh. In 40% schools
of Shahjehanpur, Badaun and Pilibhit
districts, teachers do not taste the mid-day
meal food and students refuse to eat it since
the cooks belong to lower caste.
The rot in MDM in these three districts is not
confined to caste bias alone. It has also been
found that in schools of urban areas of
these three districts roti and green
vegetables are never given, in 80% schools
there is difference between the number of
actual students present in the class and the
number of students who are shown to be
availing of MDM. Also, in most of the schools
in urban areas there are no utensils.
In rural areas of these districts, MDM
supplies of 95% of the schools are kept at
the pradhan’s house from where they are
brought to the school every day for cooking.
The report on three districts was prepared
by Lucknow University’s department of
education. It was discussed, along with
another report on Maharajganj district, in
the MDM’s Project Advisory Board meeting
last month in the HRD ministry. The Centre
has now asked the UP government to look
into the matter and send a report by July 31.
The report said that in the three districts
upper primary school children take less mid-
day meal than those in the primary sections
because the "upper primary children
belonging to general category are more
aware of caste system and do not like to
take mid-day meal prepared by SC cooks".
The report said in 10% schools of rural
areas of these districts, village pradhans do
not give the required quantity of food grain
for cooking mid-day meal. It also said that in
95% schools of these districts children bring
their own utensils. Also, non-iodised salt is
used in 5% of schools and 30% schools
used wood for cooking mid-day meals.
Another report – prepared by GB Pant Social
Science Institute, Allahabad, and Lucknow
University– based on a survey of 110
schools of Maharajganj district said that
MDM was not served in 50% of the sample
schools.