Sonipat: There has been a problem in preparing midday meal for government school students for the last two months. Dry rations were delivered to schools, but the budget to purchase other essential items for food preparation was not available. This has happened before too. This time, two months have passed since the budget was received, which is why the school principals have to spend out of their own pockets to prepare food.
We tell you that the number of government schools in the district is 712. Of these, there are 422 primary schools and 290 upper primary schools. These schools prepare lunch for around 82,000 students every day. This includes around 50,000 primary school students and 32,000 upper primary school students. While 5.45 rupees is spent on mid-day meal for each child from class 1 to 5 every day, this expenditure increases to 8.17 rupees for upper primary school students. The cost of cooking lunch for 82,000 students of the district is around Rs 5.25 lakh per day. If we talk about a month, this expenditure for all schools is around Rs 1.57 lakh crore. This budget has not been released in the district since September 15th. However, the education ministry has sent a demand of Rs 2 million to the headquarters for this.
The budget depends on numbers
The education department supplies rice, flour and other dry rations to all schools according to the number of students. Each school is provided with a budget based on the number of students for the purchase of food and other items important for preparing meals. From this budget, the principal purchases cooking gas, salt, chili, oil, pulses, chickpea flour, spices and other essential items. These goods must be purchased from any Hit Shop opened by the government at the village level. The school principals have been waiting for the budget for two months.
The budget has not yet been received from headquarters.
District Primary Education Director Saroj Balyan said that the budget would be released by the headquarters for purchasing the things needed for preparing lunch. The budget has not been received since September. A request was sent out for this purpose. Once the budget is released, it will be credited to the schools’ accounts. Nevertheless, students are regularly offered lunch according to the prescribed menu.
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