West Bengal to serve chicken, fruits in mid-day meals till April

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KOLKATA: The West Bengal government has decided to serve chicken and seasonal fruits in mid-day meals for four months starting January and has allotted Rs 371 crore for introducing the same.

According to an official notification, chicken and seasonal fruits will be served weekly once for four months for additional nutrition under PM POSHAN.

Notably, in the new scheme, an amount of Rs 20 will be spent per week on providing additional nutrition to every student, and the process will continue for 16 weeks.

Currently, students are provided with rice, pulses, vegetables, soybean and eggs in schools as part of mid-day meals.
The additional items will be served from January 23 to April 23 in every block on different days of the week.

Meanwhile, hitting out at the Mamata Banerjee government over its decision, the opposition has called it a “financial scam”.

On Thursday, the leader of the Opposition Suvendu Adhikari took to Twitter and said, “One of the biggest ongoing Financial Scam in WB is the systematic misappropriation and diversion of Central Govt’s Mid-Day Meal or PM Poshan funds by the State Govt’s Administrative machinery.”

Adhikari also has written a letter to Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan regarding this and said that the state government took the move to serve their own interests.

“One of the biggest ongoing Scams being committed by the Government of West Bengal is the Mid-Day Meal scam or PM Poshan scam. The misappropriation of the funds granted by the Central Government in this regard has been systematically diverted unethically by the State Government on a regular basis to serve their own interests,” the letter reads.

“Mid-Day Meal Executing body is School and once the sub-allotment of the fund is done from District Magistrates (DMs) to Sub Divisional Officers (SDOs), Block Development Officers (BDOs) and Municipalities after that this fund is further suballoted to respective Schools’ Accounts, which is within their jurisdiction.

Thereafter the expenditure is made by the Schools to implement the program. Inflated and artificial enrolment of students are done by the teachers through faulty updation in the Banglar Sikhsha portal,” the letter further said.

In West Bengal, over 1.16 crore students are beneficiaries of the mid-day meal scheme in state-run and aided schools.

The state and Centre share the cost on a 60:40 ratio, but the additional allocation of Rs 371 crore, however, was made entirely by the state. (ANI)

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