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NGO seeks Delhi nod to train cooks

Guwahati, Nov. 27: Akshaya Patra Foundation, an NGO, has written to the Union human resource ministry to help it train the cooks of government schools in Assam on how to prepare hygienic food.

In association with the ministry, the foundation, dedicated to supplying hygienic food in government schools, has trained 120 cooks from Nagaon, Nalbari and Dhemaji districts in a three-day programme organised in this month here.

The manager of corporate affairs of the foundation, Vijay Pandit Dasa, said once they get the ministry’s approval they would train all school cooks in the state.

“In the first phase of the programme, we have trained 120 cooks from three districts. We will train them in batches,” Dasa said.

Similar programmes were conducted in Bihar, Jharkhand and Odisha. “In theseprogrammes, we explained to the cooks about food safety standards and shared with them a few hygienic tips,” he said.

At present, the foundation feeds over 50,000 children in 600 government schools in Kamrup district through a centralised kitchen system.

Dasa said they could have provided food to 1.5 lakh students if they had a plot of land to set up more kitchens.

A survey conducted by Dibrugarh University covering a period between October 1, 2011 and March 31, 2012 in schools of Golaghat, Lakhimpur and Jorhat districts found that the kitchens in these schools were not hygienic.

“The kitchens were small and without ventilation. Warehouses for storing foodgrain and other utensils were not available,” the report said.

It said children were not happy as they were given the same food every day. It said the quality of rice was “average”.

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