Badasahi: The government spends crores of rupees under ICDS and Sarba Sikhya Abhiyan to boost pre-primary and primary education. However, a sheer lack of infrastructure has affected functioning of schools and Anganwadi centres under Badasahi block of Mayurbhanj district. Food is being cooked for kids in unsafe condition in the absence of proper kitchens.
Reports said, 87 schools in the block do not have kitchens, even though the government has been attaching much importance to completing work of kitchens.
In some schools, guardians do not like to send their kids to government schools for various reasons: lack of teachers, buildings and quality education.
Sarba Sikhya Abhijan promotes education for all, but in reality, such promotional message does not reflect rightly on the ground level in some cases.
Badasahi has 242 primary schools having 18,748 students. In 78 schools, the authorities find it difficult to manage MDM as they do not have kitchens.
Some schools cook food in the open while others cook under dilapidated thatched houses. In the past, there had been reports about rice and dal having lizards, cockroaches or spiders.
Chances of insects falling into food are high if it is cooked in the open and under shanties, locals said.
Cooks and their assistance have to suffer a lot while coking food in the open particularly in the monsoons. They have complained that firewood could not be kept safe without kitchens.
“Children will fall sick if they are served with food being cooked in unsafe condition. Dust flies into food if cooked in the open. As schools do not pay heed to the safety aspect of food, we are bound to look for private schools,” said Baidyanath Singh and Pradip Singh two guardians.
In many cases, headmasters or teachers are held responsible if inspects or anything is found in food, they said.
The school and mass education department was asked to build kitchens in each school September 6, 2017. But the directive was not followed, it was alleged.
BEO Debabrata Barik said that a list of schools having no kitchens has been sent to the district administration. But kitchens will be built if the department allocates funds, the BEO added.