Odisha gov’t school serves puffed rice during midday meal; parents agitate 

The students were served puffed rice instead of regular rice owing to a shortage of rice and a delay in its replenishment 
Students were served puffed rice three days in a row | Pic: Edex Live
Students were served puffed rice three days in a row | Pic: Edex Live

The students in the Betnoti block, which falls under the Badasahi constituency in the Mayurbhanj district, Odisha, have allegedly been served puffed rice and dal during their midday meals, instead of cooked rice for the past few days. This is being done due to a shortage of rice. Parents, who did not take well to this, have agitated against this on the school campus. The aggrieved parents also called out the district education department and school management for their alleged apathy.

The incident was brought to light by the students of Brahmapur High School after they complained to their parents about being served puffed rice instead of regular rice on Thursday, Friday and Saturday (June 22, 23 and 24) under the Mid-Day Meal (MDM) programme, reports The New Indian Express.

What happened? 

Sumanta Parida, a resident of Durgapur village and member of the School Management Committee, said that he became aware of the incident after he was informed about it by the parent of another child, on Saturday. 

Parida said, "I called up Uttam Kumar Mohanta, a teacher, and asked him the reason behind this and he said due to non-supply of rice from the concerned department, the headmistress had advised to serve puffed rice and dal in MDM in lunch.” Even though the teacher assured him of the problem being sorted out on Friday, June 23, Parida said that the students were served the same food again on Saturday. 

When he rushed to the school along with other parents and members of the School Management Committee on Saturday, June 24, it was found that the students were being served puffed rice and dal again. The headmistress told them that students were served puffed rice as there was a delay in the delivery of rice to the school for the midday meals.

The parents immediately brought this issue to the cognizance of Malati Tudu, Block Education Officer (BEO) who expressed shock at the discrepancy. 

"I am shocked to know about such mismanagement in schools. There is no provision to serve puffed rice to students under MDM," said Tudu, assuring parents to probe the matter and take action as per the report.

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