Published: 03rd December 2020
Children in Karnataka have been denied milk for six months, reveals RTI
A group of 80 nutritionists, doctors, activists, lawyers and citizens have written to the government to start the supply of milk powder under Ksheera Bhagya for government and aided school students
Children in the state have been denied milk for atleast half a year. In response to an RTI query, the midday meal scheme department has stated that there has been no order by the government to disburse milk powder under the Ksheera Bhagya Scheme. As per the response, the government had worked upto towards distributing milk powder per student in all districts including those hit by drought, in the state. The decision to deliver milk powder was made also in August where the Managing Director, Karnataka Milk Federation, B C Sateesh had told The New Sunday Express that 3 lakh litres of milk was being turned into 35 metric tonnes of milk powder every day to cater to these children.
The scheme was planned to be rolled out to students from class one to 10 across 55,683 aided and government schools in Karnataka. Autorickshaws that made public announcements on COVID19, were supposed to distribute the essentials to beneficiaries. However now, education department officials told TNIE that milk will only continue in the meals when schools reopen. On the reasons for going back on the plans to distribute milk powder, director of the midday meals programme, Narayana Gowda told TNIE, "Beneficiaries have not been told how to use the milk powder. And providing milk to children during this situation was also difficult."At present, dry rations are being distributed and distribution of the backlog of June and July has reached a 80 to 90 percent completion, he added.
A group of 80 nutritionists, doctors, activists, lawyers and citizens have written to the government to start the supply of milk powder under Ksheera Bhagya for government and aided school students.The nutritional scheme, which provides a glass (150ml) of hot milk to school-going children in the state is the only source of milk-protein and many othervitamins and minerals for several children studying in government-run and government-aidedschools, the concerned citizenry said.
A majority of the children studying in government-run and government-aided school come from economically and socially marginalized communities including Dalit, Adivasi and Other Backward Classes. Public Health Doctor Sylvia Karpagam told TNIE with nutritional deficiencies, we are expecting the resurgence of some of the old diseases that used to happen during the famine such as Marasmus and Kwashiorkor in children.-"She pointed to the already dire condition of children entitled to midday meal with centralised kitchens which saw much wastage in food, and the food commission intervened. Even with Akshaya Patra (which catereted to an enormous number of mid-day meal children), she said, children were refusing to drink the milk that was pre mixed early in the morning and was brought to school later and would get spoilt on heating. The government should have ideally given eggs, she added, that way the nutritious food provides 8 of mandated 15 grams that mid day meal should provide. However the state government completely denied eggs by assuring Ksheera bhagya, and now that too was not given during the pandemic, she added.