Dining halls for schools
The Bengal government has taken up a project to build dining halls in schools for serving midday meals.
Sources in the education department said the move followed complaints about inadequate and unhygienic spots being used to serve the central-scheme meals to students from the primary section to Class VIII. The state will fund the building of the halls.
“We have constructed 140 dining halls out of 240 sanctioned for the district and work is in full swing to complete the rest,” said Rahul Majumder, district magistrate of Purulia.
Sources said each dining hall would have an area of 77 to 139 square metres, depending on the number of students.
In August this year, a surprise visit by the BJP’s Hooghly MP Locket Chatterjee to a Chinsurah school had revealed substandard quality of food being served to students.
The incident sparked outrage over the quality of food. Similar instances surfaced at several other places in Bengal in the following weeks.
In Purulia, a primary school has been unable to serve midday meals to its students for the past 14 years in the absence of a hygienic place for cooking. The facility had been stopped years ago after a section of guardians protested against their children having meals cooked in a makeshift shed.
Purulia district authorities said the new dining halls would be large and amenable to comfortable and hygienic eating.
“The dining halls will accommodate chairs and tables besides washrooms,” said an official in the midday meal section of East Burdwan. The district has constructed 68 dining halls out of 466 sanctioned for 2018-2019. Sources said 359 halls were proposed in the next fiscal.
“The cost of each dining hall is Rs 2.69 lakh to Rs 4.92 lakh,” said an official.