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Kids’ bid to shame cash-starved state

Calcutta, Nov. 13: Non-government organisations have lined up a unique demonstration by children on November 14 — Children’s Day — in the city and across the state to protest against the government’s inability to provide mid-day meals to primary school students.

The government, citing the crippling funds crunch, has not been sanctioning Rs 190 crore to provide cooked meals to about 95 lakh students in the state.

Children will hold a symbolic fund-raising drive tomorrow with banners stating: “Our state government claims it doesn’t have the necessary money to provide us with food in our schools, so we’re begging for money from the common people. We shall send this money to the chief minister so that he can give us food.”

The protest will be led by NGOs like the Right to Food and Work Network, Campaign against Child Labour, West Bengal Education Network and the Calcutta NGO Forum of Street and Working Children.

The NGOs pointed out that in response to a Supreme Court ruling that states should not compromise with children’s food, Bengal had petitioned that it was unable to implement it due to the financial crisis. But the apex court rejected the petition and cautioned on September 3 that Central aid would be diverted for the meals project.

Mishap kills five

Five persons were killed when a Malda-bound sand-laden truck collided with another on National Highway 34 near Tarapur village under the Farakka police station on Tuesday evening. Four labourers died on the spot, buried under the sand. The helper of the other truck was also killed.

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