A Jharcraft employee displays the apron and gloves in Ranchi on Tuesday. Picture by Hardeep Singh
Ranchi, Oct. 8: Members of mata samitis involved in cooking midday meal for children at government-run primary and middle schools are all set to have a dress code — an initiative to ensure hygiene and cleanliness.
The state human resource development department will soon distribute sets of caps, hand gloves, aprons and table mats among mothers who cook the meals.
The department has already roped in Jharcraft, which in turn has engaged around 200 weavers to prepare the outfits.
To start with, the department has placed an order for 400 sets that will be distributed among midday meal workers in four districts — Ranchi, Deoghar, Sahebganj and Dumka.
According to sources, each set (including tablemats) will cost Rs 450.
Primary education department director Mamta said, “We are not taking any chance as far as cleanliness is concerned. People involved in preparing meals are expected to maintain high standards of hygiene. Hence, we have decided to distribute hand gloves, caps and aprons to all mata samiti members.”
But there are around 3,500 government-run primary and middle schools in the four districts. In every school, there are five-six mata samiti members. Naturally, 400 sets won’t suffice.
Mamta said the first lot would be distributed among select schools, and eventually, the remaining cradles would be covered under the initiative.
Jharcraft would be given more orders to prepare similar materials for all schools across the state in successive phases.
“As soon as we receive the material, which is likely to be ready in another month, we will start distribution,” she said.
Jharcraft managing director Dhirendra Kumar said they were preparing two different types of aprons — blue-and-white checks and blue-and-yellow stripes.
“All these materials are designed by weavers in handloom, keeping in mind the comfort factor. We feel privileged that the department has given us this responsibility,” Dhirendra said.
According to sources, this move is part of the government’s initiative to ensure nutritious and hygienic food for underprivileged children.
After the tragic midday meal incident at a primary school in Bihar, where 23 students died after eating contaminated food, the state education department has stepped up measures to keep tabs on implementation of the scheme across Jharkhand.
All schools have been given strict directive to maintain proper hygiene and cleanliness to avert any Bihar-like incident.