33 percent of schools covered under MDM are without kitchen sheds
DSEK says MHRD has been approached, issue will be resolved
Srinagar: The school education department has failed to construct the kitchen sheds for the schools which forms the major component of the centrally sponsored scheme- Mid-Day Meals (MDM).
As per the official figures, around over 33 percent of schools in valley, covered under the MDM scheme are without kitchen facilities which has affected the distribution of the meals among the students.
The MDM scheme was launched to enhance enrolment, retention, attendance and simultaneously improve nutritional levels among children studying in classes I to V in government, government-aided or local body schools. But the non-availability of kitchen sheds has played spoilsport for proper implementation of the scheme.
The official data reveals that only 57.45 percent of schools have been provided with kitchen sheds while construction of these kitchens is yet to be taken up in the remaining schools.
“Around 4983 kitchen sheds were approved by the government of India for Kashmir region out of which only 2863 sheds have been completed. The situation is equally dismal in Jammu region,” an official said.
He said the construction of kitchen sheds was an annual process since 2012 but no kitchen sheds have been completed in any school as no fresh work was taken up by the department.
“Construction was halted for unknown reasons. Some kitchen shed which are yet to be taken up include those which were approved by government of India in 2010 or before that,” he said.
The official in planning department of education said the basic reason for incomplete construction work on kitchen sheds was due to less project cost.
“Rs 1.47 lakhs was released for construction of each kitchen shed but owing to cost escalation the department couldn’t complete these buildings in this meager amount. These rates were approved in 2008 and since then the costs have been escalated,” he said.
The MDM scheme was launched in J&K with an objective to give boost to universalization of primary education but the poor implementation has failed the main purpose of the scheme.
Director School Education Kashmir (DSEK) G N Itoo said the department has taken up the matter with the MHRD to get the construction of kitchen sheds approved as per revised costs.
“The matter is under consideration of the union MHRD and we are expecting a breakthrough in it,” he said.