Mid-day meal spread: Hyderabad hugs lowest rung

HYDERABAD: Implementation of (MDM) scheme seems to be faulty in Hyderabad when compared to the rest of the state, with the lowest number of beneficiaries found in the city. This startling fact came to light during a recent review meeting held in New Delhi, jointly by the state and the ministry of human resource and development.

While it was found that the coverage of at the primary level across the state was a high 88 per cent, well above the national average of 76 per cent, only 67 per cent children in Hyderabad were covered under it.

Similarly, at upper primary level, the district wise analysis revealed that only in Warangal (urban) and Hyderabad, the coverage of children was less than 80 per cent.

Standing testimony to the poor coverage was the also utilisation of cooking cost and foodgrains that was found to be the lowest in the city. An analysis of the utilisation of foodgrains during 2017-18 showed that the state used only 88 per cent of the allocated foodgrains.

While the utilisation in Mahbubnagar stood at 96 per cent — of its allocated quota of 112 per cent — Hyderabad could use only 71 per cent. “State government needs to analysis this issue,” read the MHRD’s appraisal note for Telangana.

While the districts should have utilised 100 per cent of the allocated cooking cost, the state level utilisation was found to be 90 per cent. “At the district level, the utilisation is lowest in district Hyderabad (73 per cent),” read the performance report made by the MHRD for Telangana.

Worse, it was found that Telangana government is yet to commence construction of 50 per cent of the kitchen-cumstores in the state. According to the MHRD figures, construction work of 15,348 kitchencum-stores is yet to begin in the state . “Of the total 30,408 kitchen-cum-stores allocated to Telangana, only 33 per cent are constructed and functional, 17 per cent are under construction and 50 per cent are yet to be constructed. Apart from this, 84 per cent schools continue to use firewood as the fuel to cook the meals,” read report.

Speaking about it, Rambabu, head of Pratham Organisation (Telangana and Andhra Pradesh) which conducts the Annual Status of Education Report said: “Due to kitchen-cum-stores in majority schools, food for mid-day meals is often cooked in open areas posing high risk for students. The recent case which happened in Nalgonda wherein a government school student was injured after he fell in a boiling sambar vessel is a classic example of such events.”

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