Jeypore: Mid-day meal (MDM) programme in Koraput district has been severely hit as the agency providing MDM to the schools has not received its outstanding of Rs 70 lakhs following the arrest of the district education officer (DEO) in a criminal case. The DEO office is not releasing Rs 70 lakh to the agency.
Eggs have gone missing from the plates of students from last week. Residents have expressed concern on the development even as they raised doubts over whether students are receiving their midday meals at all.
A centralised cooking unit managed by a private agency supplies cooked mid-day meals to all primary and upper primary schools in Jeypore, Kotpad, Sunabeda, Koraput civic body limits and in Jeypore block.
The food prepared in the centralized cooking unit is supplied to 172 schools in Jeypore block, 45 schools in Jeypore municipality, 46 in Koraput, 20 in Kotpad and 30 in Sunabeda blocks.
However, the agency has stopped supplying eggs in MDM to students in Jeypore block for a week now due to non-payment of Rs 70 lakh. Similarly, the schools under the civic body limits have stopped receiving eggs from Friday.
This has happened due to the absence of DEO after his arrest and non-appointment of a new person in his place.
The DEO involved in a criminal case was arrested recently. The state government has suspended him from the post but is yet to appoint a new person in his place.
The additional district education officer (ADEO) has only been asked to withdraw money from the bank towards salary payment of employees. However, no official has been assigned the power to in making payment for midday meals.
As a result, the agency has an outstanding of Rs 70 lakh on the DEO office towards December and January payments.
A staff of the agency’s centralized cooking unit on condition of anonymity confirmed the development. He said eggs have been stopped in MDM and if payment is not received soon it will be difficult to continue providing MDM to the schools.