Srinagar, Oct 7: The latest mid-day meal menu issued by the Chief Education Officer (CEO) Kupwara has riled the teachers who have said that it will become expensive to adhere to the same.
“Any leniency in the implementation of uniform MDM menu in schools will be viewed seriously,” the CEO Kupwara in his order has warned the school teachers who are in charge of MDM in schools. The school teachers said the menu prepared by CEO Kupwara was different from the cabinet-approved menu issued to the schools.
The MDM is served to school-going children from kindergarten to class 8th. As per the government norms, a primary class student is entitled to Rs 4.97 each while each student from class 6th to 8th is entitled to Rs 7.45 per day.
However, the school teachers said one egg costs Rs 6 in towns and Rs 7 in rural areas. “So it is not possible to serve eggs to students in the given entitlement,” a school teacher said.
The teachers said the fuel charges provided by the department are approximately Rs 600 per month while the actual cost goes beyond Rs 2000 in a school with nearly 100 students.
“Also, we have to lift the rice from ration stores for which the concerned teachers give the money to laborers out of their own pockets and the department hardly releases lifting charges to the schools,” the teachers said.
The teachers questioned the MDM menu issued by CEO Kupwara saying that no such memo has been framed in any of the districts across J&K. “All the officers are aware of the market inflation that is why no such order is issued in any district. But we fail to understand on what basis and calculation CEO Kupwara has issued such a menu,” the teachers said.
The teachers said the department has a liability of more than three months and funds are not released in time to schools to run the MDM scheme smoothly.
“The funds for November and December of last year and March this year were released in June and the funds for the month of April, and May were also released in June. Since then no funds were released to schools,” the school teacher said.
CEO Kupwara, Abdul Hameed Fani when contacted said the schools have to implement the order in letter and spirit.
“Those who cannot manage MDM in schools must hand it over to other teachers. Implementation of MDM is directly monitored by the Supreme Court, so teachers have to serve proper diet to school kids,” he said.
The CEO Kupwara however acknowledged that there was a liability of the last few months but said the school teachers “should manage the way they manage it at their homes.”
“No doubt there is a delay of two to three months in release of payment to schools but till date we have not deprived any school of funds,” he said.
The project director Samagra Shiksha Deep Raj when contacted said the MDM menu of CEO Kupwara was not endorsed by the directorate as it has not been issued after doing a proper survey in the market.
“I do not endorse his (CEO) menu. I asked him if he had done any market study or was it approved by a committee but he had no answers to it,” Deep Raj said.
He said the teachers should not worry about the issue as the circular issued by CEO can be done away with by the directorate. “No doubt we want to give good items to kids under MDM but it should be within the available budget,” he said.