Nagpur: Days after 32 students of Marotrao Mude High School at Hudkeshwar suffered symptoms of food poisoning after consuming mid-day meal and had to be rushed to the hospital, the Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) has suspended mid-day meal (MDM) contract of concerned women self-help group (SHG) Shagun Mahila Bachat Gat, Ramdaspeth, for 43 schools under it.
The self help group is run by Roopa Rai who is BJP corporator and also Nagpur’s BJP vice-president. Rai’s social media profile also reads her designation as President, Shagun Mahila Audyogik Sahakari Sanstha Maryadit, under which the said SHG is being run.
However, the social activist group RTE Action Committee run by Shahid Sharif has questioned the inaction by Hudkeshwar police despite directives by home Minister Anil Deshmukh.
The NMC has only suspended its contract for supplying mid day meal in 43 schools, however no other action has been initiated for the quality of food.
Only contract suspension?
Meanwhile, the NMC is awaiting the report of food samples collected by Foods and Drug Administration (FDA) to take any further action against SHG. While suspending the contract, the NMC education officer Priti Mishrikotkar also issued a letter to The Akshaya Patra Foundation for supplying mid-day meal to all schools served by the SHG. FDA took samples of food and water at around 5 pm on Friday and yet to submit report.
Who are cops protecting?
While NMC waited for the food samples Sharif has alleged that Hudkeshwar police has neither sent the food samples for testing nor took any action. However, the Hudkeshwar police were to send the samples for chemical analysis on Monday, no update came till the time of filing the report. Sources have alleged that the cops were trying to delay the matter in view of the Rai’s involvement in the case. Sharif claimed that according to Juvenile Justice Act, it is mandatory on the authorities concerned to take action in such cases within 24 hours. It is a serious lapse on the part of authorities.
Series of irregularities
Meanwhile, the parents have alleged that FDA has pointed out various irregularities in the inspection. They even claimed highly unhygeinic food being served to the students. RTE Action Committee had on February 7 lodged a complaint against the Shagun Mahila Bachat Gat for the alleged irregularities under schedule (4) of FSSAI act, in serving the mid-day meal. However the police have not made any move since then, sources reported. As per the directory, the SHG was not following required parameters for cooking the food. There was no report on the conditon under which the food was being cooked. The NOC from NMC’s Health Department was also missing.
MDM Superitendent also at fault!
Prima facie the functioning of Superitendent of Mid-Day Meal (MDM) programme Gautam Gedam’s has also come under scanner as the irregularities clearly highligh that no inspection of schools serving mid-day meal was done.