Bihar kids go hungry as teachers go on strike
Friday, July 26, 2013: Following the boycott of the mid-day meal scheme by teachers after the tragic death of 23 kids in food-poisoning incident, the Bihar government has asked Bangalore-based Akshaya Patra, a charitable organization run by ISKCON temple providing mid-day meal to schools, to take it over in Patna and Muzaffarpur districts.
The teachers of Bihar, about 3 million of them, have decided to boycott the mid-day meal scheme after Meena Devi, the principal of the school where the mishap took place, was arrested and sent to judicial custody. On the contrary, millions of children in Bihar went without mid-day meal as teachers were on strike.
Defying the government’s appeal, Bihar school teachers said they don’t want to take any risk now unless a full proof system is put in place. Instead, they suggested the government to hand over the scheme to NGOs but the number of schools in the state — at 72,000 — is too big a task for any NGO to handle, say officials.
After the teachers’ boycott of the scheme, the Bihar government has anyway, asked Bangalore-based Akshaya Patra, an NGO run by ISKCON temple, to take it over in Patna and Muzaffarpur districts.
Meanwhile, the Forensic Science Lab report found the pesticide in the samples of oil from the container, food remains on the platter and mixture of rice with vegetables on aluminium utensils, all of which were collected from the school.