No dal, just rice for mid-day meal at this Odisha school; students walk 1.5 km in protest with rice plates    

Mismanagement of the mid-day meal programme led to a protest walk of 1.5 km to meet the local Block Development Officer
It was a tough walk | (Pic: EdexLive)
It was a tough walk | (Pic: EdexLive)

Students of Vinod Ray Government Upper Primary School in Mayurbhanj's Rasgovindpur in Odisha walked more than 1.5 km on Monday, April 3, to meet the local Block Development Officer (BDO). They were holding plates of rice while doing so to report their grievances about mismanagement in the mid-day meal (MDM) programme. A dharna was also staged in front of the Rasgovindpur block office for over four hours by the agitated students as the BDO was attending a meeting at the Mayurbhanj collectorate in Baripada, as stated in a report by The New Indian Express.

The self-help group (SHG) shouldering the responsibility of taking care of the mid-day meal programme at the school was offering fewer supplies and rations required to prepare the mid-day meals, students alleged. Instead of the required three kg, the SHG reportedly provided only one kg of dal on Monday, April 3, forcing the students to have only rice for lunch. This initiated their protest and the students marched to the BDO's office holding their lunch plates with only rice.

Commonplace occurrence? 
"Such incidents are a regular affair in the school. After the matter was brought to the notice of the district education office, the SHG served us proper meals for some days and again reverted to its old practice. Despite repeated complaints, no action is being taken against the SHG concerned," claimed the students.

The students called off their dharna after the Rasgovindpur BDO Lalatendu Si reached the block office at around 5 pm and assured them of conducting a thorough probe into their complaints. He promised that if the allegations are found to be true, necessary action will be taken against the SHG. Around 120 students are enrolled in Vinod Ray Government Upper Primary School.

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