Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Mar 20:
The Odisha government has decided to use LPG and smokeless chullahs for preparation of mid-day meal (MDM) in schools.
A decision to this effect was taken at the state level steering committee meeting presided over by chief secretary GC Pati at the State Secretariat here on Thursday.
It was decided that the LPG would be used for mid-day meal preparation in 5000 schools while smokeless chullahs would be set up in 12,500 schools for this purpose.
The meeting also decided that apart from Woman and Child Development (WCD) and School and Mass Education (S&ME) departments, three other departments and more women self-help groups (SHGs) would be involved in the MDM programme.
While the WCD and S&ME departments would be in charge of preparation, serving and quality of MDM, the Panchayati Raj department would step up awareness programmes about the programme, the Health department iron folic and de-worming tablets and the Food and Civil Supplies department would be in charge of distribution of LPG cylinders to the schools.
It was revealed that LPG agencies would be tagged to 5000 schools which would use it for preparation of MDM. Each of these schools would be provided with 12 subsidises LPG cylinders in a year. In case these schools require more cylinders, the state government would provide non-subsidised cylinders.
For installation of smokeless chullahs in 12,500 schools, the state government has made budgetary allocations.
It may be mentioned that the state government spends Rs 2.85 crore per day towards providing MDM to about 56 lakh children in 62,640 lower primary schools with provision of eggs twice a week.
A total of 1,28,421 cooks have been engaged under the programme while construction of kitchen rooms in 41,676 schools has been completed, the meeting revealed.
Among others, Development Commissioner UN Behera, Additional Chief Secretary, Finance R Balakrishnan and secretaries of concerned departments were present at the meeting.