Bhubaneswar, Aug 5 :
Following repeated cases of contaminated food being served to school children under the mid-day meal ( MDM ) programme, the Odisha government has directed all the district collectors to ensure quality and safety of MDM.
During a video-conference with the collectors at the state secretariat here Sunday, chief secretary JK Mohapatra has asked them to be more vigilant. He has specifically asked them to hold monitoring committee meetings at district level involving local MPs, constitute steering-cum-monitoring committees at district and block levels and ensure timely release of funds for MDM.
The collectors have also been asked to look into proper convergence of all the departments, agencies and NGOs involved in the process to ensure quality management of MDM.
Presently, agencies like Rural Water Supply and Sanitation (RWSS), Food Corporation of India (FCI), National Rural Health Mission (NRHM), United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef), World Food Programme (WFP), Save the Children Organisation, Nandi Foundation and Akshayapatra Foundation have been converged for ensuring quality management.
Secretary, School and Mass Education Usha Padhi who also took part in the video conference, elaborated on the guidelines prepared by her department on kitchen cleanliness, hygienic storage of food items, quality control measures in case of local procurement and personal hygienic habits of cooks and students.
She asked the collectors to ensure the food items that do not conform to FAQ standard or appear to be of poor quality are rejected at the school point.
Among others, secretary, Women and Child Development Arati Ahuja and senior officials of the concerned departments were present.