Cloud over Assam's schools midday meal
The Assam government is yet to devise a mechanism to distribute either ration or cooked midday meals to the doorsteps of students following the novel coronavirus-induced shutdown of educational institutions.
Earlier this week, the Supreme Court had issued a notice to all states and Union territories on the non-availability of midday meals owing to shutdown of schools. It also cited the example of the Kerala government supplying the meal to the doorsteps of students during the closure.
According to a source, the education department on Saturday received a fresh circular from the Centre asking it to prepare a mechanism to resume midday meal services in primary schools.
“We will discuss the circular and prepare a proper mechanism for distribution at the earliest. Either the student or the parents may collect the ration or the cook and helpers will visit the students homes’ and distribute the ration,” the source said.
He said the pending ration would be provided to students at their residences.
According to the source, the district administration will be empowered to decide the mechanism of distribution according to their convenience to ease the process.
“We will also provide cooking cost to the parents if they are distributed ration instead of cooked meals. However, whatever the mechanism, the process of distribution must avoid mass gatherings and social contact,” he added.
All Assam Primary School Midday Meal Cook and helpers’ Association president Sobita Boro said: “The midday meal service is on hold. We don’t know when it will resume as we are yet to receive a formal order. We were simply asked to stop to prevent the spread of coronavirus. We don’t know what to do.”
Zahanara Begum, a cook from Udalguri district, said: “We are ready to cook or to distribute ration at the doorsteps of students. We are waiting for a formal order.”