Where Are The Promised Eggs In Mid-day Meals, Ask Students, Activists In Jharkhand

Eggs were included in Jharkhand’s mid-day meal programme last year

Ranchi, Jharkhand: It’s been nearly two months since the students of Ramgarh government school in Jharkhand got eggs in their mid-day meal. They are also deprived of the morning snacks, they say.

The headmaster admitted that they haven’t got the mid-day meal since months.

Eggs were included in Jharkhand’s mid-day meal programme last year starting with three districts.

This year, the government allocated Rs 40 crore promising eggs for all 30 lakh children in 24 districts of the state. Many students are drawn to the school over the fact that they get food, teachers say.

In Dabhatau Upper Middle School too, the situation is similar. Vishal Kumar, 8, said that his friend Pammi only comes to school the day eggs are served, a sign that eggs have the potential to keep children in school.

Besides schools, nutrition is in a state of neglect in anganwadi centres in the state.

Four-year-old Anita’s weight has not been recorded for the last two years.

Mary Margaret, the anganwadi worker, found it hard to explain the missing details from Anita’s records. When questioned, she admitted that she failed to capture the details of Anita’s weight from March 2015 to May 2017.

Cluster co-ordinator Uttam Kumar who monitors the mid-day meals across 20 schools said that since eggs were in short supply, they are cost  more than the allocated budget of Rs 4 for an egg.

“Eggs are expensive, can’t be stored for long and we have to get them from far,”  he said.

Parvati Devi an active social worker in the area said, “Instead of eggs, we should allocate something that is locally available and nutritious.”

In Jharkhand, 45 per cent of children under 5 are stunted and 47 per cent are underweight.