Human Resources Development Minister Smriti Irani was left upset and confused when an MP from Jharkhand claimed that the food served under the midday meal scheme in schools was poisonous and detrimental to the health of the children.
Ravindra Kumar Pandey, MP from Giridh in Jharkhand, made this statement during the question hour of the ongoing parliamentary session at Lok Sabha, according to The Indian Express. Pandey said that he made the claim on the basis of government data, which shows that between the years 2011 and 2014 around 2, 375 school children suffered from various ailments due to unhealthy food that was being served in schools under the scheme.
The MP also added that packed food being supplied to the schools were past their expiry date.
Reverting to the claims made by Pandey, Irani said that the food being served to the children has been under the evaluation of both Central and State governments and therefore the issue of the food being contaminated could not be accepted.
"It would be wrong to state in this House that the children were being served poisonous food under the midday meal scheme in the country," Irani was quoted as saying.
The HRD minister also said that she had written to many MPs last year to personally verify the quality of food that was being served in schools under their constituencies.
Referring to the few complaints related to food served in schools, Irani said that immediate actions were taken to solve such issues. She also added that the midday meal served in schools follow all the guidelines that have been jointly devised by the ministries of food and health and Nutritional Management Institutes.
Prior to the question hour, Irani said that complaints related to bad food being served has been 75 in number in four years. She also added that necessary actions have been taken by the state governments to curb poor quality food from being served to the children in schools.