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Midday meal: 1 litre milk diluted to serve 81 students in UP school


Press Trust of India Sonbhadra (UP)
A litre of milk was allegedly diluted with a bucket of water so that 81 children could be served during their midday meal at a government school in Uttar Pradesh's Chopan block, following which a teacher was suspended, officials said on Friday.
The Wednesday incident led to an outcry after a video went viral purportedly showing the cook of the Salai Banwa Primary School emptying a one-litre milk packet in a bucket of boiling water, and later serving it to the students.
The officials said an inquiry has been ordered and an FIR registered against a Kota gram panchayat 'Siksha Mitra' (contractual teacher).
Opposition Samajawadi Party and Congress latched onto the incident to attack the ruling BJP, alleging the government has not been able to check "corruption" in midday meal scheme, which aims to better the nutritional intake of schoolchildren.
In another video, the woman cook is seen confessing she had mixed the milk in a bucket of water.
Assistant Basic Siksha Adhikari Mukesh Rai said though milk was available, the cook only provided one litre for the children. There was some error but it was promptly rectified, he said.
Taking serious note of the incident, District Magistrate S Rajalingan visited the school and suspended a teacher, Shailesh Kannaujia. He also got an FIR registered against a 'siksha mitra', Jitendra Kumar, and dismissed him from service.
The 'Shiksha Mitra' has been accused of getting water mixed in the milk and making its video viral on the social media in the FIR lodged by the Assistant BSA Mukesh Rai, the DM said.
Rai has also been withdrawn from field duty and attacked to office and disciplinary action has been recommended against him, the DM said.
Basic Siksha Adhikari Gorakhnath Patel said an inquiry has been ordered and stern action will be taken against those responsible.
Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav took a dig at the government over the incident. In tweet, he alleged the BJP government only believes in show-offs.
State Congress president Ajay Kumar Lallu tweeted, "Recent central government figures showed that UP reported maximum number of corruption cases in midday meal scheme. The Sonbhadra incident just confirms it. The chief minister may make tall claims, but he is not able to handle the government. The entire system is corrupt and the CM is just a mute spectator."

The video comes two months after a similar shocking video had emerged from Siyur Primary School in Mirzapur district showing a woman distributing rotis and another giving salt to children in the midday meal.
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) had taken note of the Mirzapur incident and sent a notice to the Uttar Pradesh chief secretary following which two teachers were suspended.
According to a NHRC statement, the commission had also sought a detailed report about the status of the midday meal scheme across the state within four weeks.
The state government had lodged an FIR against the journalist who recorded a video of schoolchildren being served salt and roti in their midday meal.

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First Published: Nov 29 2019 | 5:15 PM IST

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