Fish wish for midday meal
Bhubaneswar: The Naveen Patnaik government has plans to spice up the midday meal platter by serving fish that officials say will push up its nutritional quotient.
The move, if implemented, will be in accordance with the recommendations of the Odisha State Food Commission that had submitted its report to the government last month.
The commission's report had suggested measures required to strengthen the nutritional content of food served at schools and anganwadi centres.
The commission has recommended fish as it is a very rich source of micro and macro-nutrients and would help in the growth of children.
The midday meal scheme covers nearly 5.10 lakh students, who are mainly served rice, dal, egg, soyabean curry and dalma.
"The commission has asked us to explore the possible ways of providing it to school students through midday meal. We are now chalking out plans to execute it," a senior official of the school and mass education department told The Telegraph.
"If not possible in all the schools at one go, it will be implemented on a pilot basis in some institutions," he said.
The commission has also suggested introduction of biscuits for children at anganwadi centres in the state to enhance their nutrition levels, said an official.
The government is also planning to provide special nutrient-rich food to both children and lactating mothers at anganwadi centres.
"Apart from soyabean, we will provide ragi or millet ladoo or biscuits for morning snacks to children at least on a pilot basis in KBK districts," the official said. He added "rasi ladoos" would also be provided to children.
To ensure healthy growth of children, the government will conduct haemoglobin tests for all adolescent boys and girls in the state.
"We are procuring equipment to test haemoglobin levels of children in highly vulnerable districts. On a pilot basis, this test has already been initiated in Kandhamal, Kalahandi and Gajapati districts," he said.
The purpose is to detect sickle cell anaemia that is one of the major reasons for the death of children in the tribal dominated districts.
"The food commission has also decided to approach the Azim Premji Philanthrophical Initiative to take up the project in the state," the official said.