In a shocking revelation, as many as 800 students in a government-run school in Punjab's Patiala were not provided ration under the Mid-Day Meal Scheme for seven months during the on-going coronavirus outbreak. Patiala is also the home district of Punjba CM Capt. Amarinder Singh.
The revelation highlights major lapse in the implementation of the Centre's directive to the states to ensure the provision of mid-day meal ration to schoolchildren on a monthly basis during the closure of the institutions.
According to the Hindustan Times, the matter came to the fore when school teachers alleged that the principal of Government Model Senior Secondary School was not providing ration for distribution to students.
The publication added that the school principal, Karamjeet Singh, admitted that around 800 students have been deprived of the ration for seven months, but couldn't state the reason for its failure. It further pointed out that the school had recently started distributing 3kg of rice and wheat to each student against the sanctioned 14kg rice and wheat each.
"The rest of the ration will also be delivered to the students soon," said the principal.
"I earn ₹6,000 a month by working as a housemaid. My husband lost his job of tiffin service to paying guests during the lockdown. We cook food just once a day. If the school had provided us with mid-day meal ration, at least my son could eat twice a day. Even till now, they have not provided any ration for my son," said mother of one of the students.
Notably, the report stated that the state education department had provided the school with the requisite ration till October which reportedly never reached the students.
"The education department needs to conduct an inquiry to check what is going on in school. The department will find several irregularities if the inquiry is conducted by officials of another district," said one of the teachers.
School education minister Vijay Inder Singla said, "I will direct the district education officer to look into the matter. Action will be taken against the person concerned if any irregularity is found."