Odisha Schools to Provide Mid-Day Meals from Day One of Reopening

Bhubaneswar: The Odisha government has mandated district education officers (DEOs) to ensure the readiness of mid-day meal services for students on the first day of school reopening on June 18. In an official directive from the State Project Management Unit (PM Poshan) under the School and Mass Education (S&ME) department, the emphasis was placed on the right of every child aged 6 to 14 years, enrolled in Classes I to VIII, to receive a mid-day meal.

Raguram R Iyer, state nodal officer for PM Poshan, stressed that no child should miss out on this right due to any lack of preparation by school management or central kitchen agencies. The directive called for comprehensive preparedness and precautions to ensure meals are served from day one.

Given the potential deterioration of unused mid-day meal ingredients such as rice, oil, condiments, dal, and soya chunks over the vacation period, the department instructed rigorous checks to confirm their edibility. Headmasters are required to perform and verify Edibility Tests to avoid any risks of food poisoning, with verification from Cluster Resource Centre Coordinators (CRCC) and Block Education Officers (BEO).

On reopening day, DEOs, BEOs, and CRCCs must conduct random inspections of meal ingredients to prevent any mishaps. Additionally, the cooking areas must be clean, and all safety protocols regarding cook-cum-helpers (CCH), drinking water, and meal ingredients must be strictly followed.

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