The centralised kitchen of Iskcon Food Relief Foundation in Jamshedpur on Thursday. Picture by Bhola Prasad
New Year seems to have started well for students of state-run schools in East Singhbhum district.
District education department and Iskcon Food Relief Foundation has identified 40 more schools to be brought under the ambit of the centralised kitchen that supplies food under mid-day meal scheme.
The kitchen at Ramdas Bhatta, which started in April 2012, already caters to 55,000 students of 309 schools in East Singhbhum and adjoining Seraikela-Kharsawan district.
“We wanted more children to benefit from this system. Expansion was a plan from the beginning and we are in the process of introducing the service in the new cradles,” said Prakash Kumar, additional district programme officer of East Singhbhum, adding that they aimed to reach out to 5,000 more children.
The Iskcon foundation has already procured six new vehicles and is chalking out routes to the new schools where they will supply meals. Since one vehicle can cater to 10 schools a day, the routes will be charted as per the convenience of schools and distributors.
However, complaints regarding the quality and quantity of food supplied by the centralised kitchen have cast a shadow the expansion move.
Since its launch in April 2012, principals of a number of state-run schools have complained that the quantity of food supplied wasn’t enough. There was also an incident where worms were found in the daal served by the kitchen.
Sanjay Tikku, director of Iskcon Food Relief Foundation, Jamshedpur, said they would take utmost care regarding the quality and quantity of food supplied.
“We want this service to spread as much as possible. I agree there have been some glitches in the past. But, we will take full care in preparing and supplying food, as we have always tried to do. We have bought the vehicles and will also procure extra containers to manage delivery,” he said.
The kitchen, launched by state, Iskcon Food Relief Foundation and Tata Steel, currently has 34 vehicles that ferry food to the state-run schools.