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Orissa ‘too poor’ to offer school meals

Bhubaneswar, July 16: Citing financial constraints, the Naveen Patnaik government has decided not to provide cooked food to all schools under the mid-day meal programme despite being directed to do so by the Supreme Court.

Cooked food is being provided at present to 46.21 lakh students at 42,655 government-run primary schools in half of the 314 blocks in the state. Most of these schools are located in the backward Kalahandi, Bolangir and Koraput districts and in tribal areas.

In an interim order in 2001, the apex court had asked Orissa to extend mid-day meals to all schools from the current academic year.

But officials at the state secretariat have said an affidavit citing the government’s inability to do will soon be filed in the Supreme Court.

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