After Mirzapur's salt-roti (flatbread) mid-day meal incident, another government school in Uttar Pradesh has come under the scanner. This time, highly diluted milk was distributed to 81 children in the primary school of Sonbhadra district on Wednesday, November 29. A video of a mid-day meal staff mixing one litre carton of milk to one large container of water has surfaced the internet. 

Midday meals students
School boys carry their tiffin boxes as they wait to receive the free mid-day meaREUTERS/Ahmad Masood

In the video, the cook is seen boiling water in a large aluminum container before adding milk from a one-litre carton. She then stirs the vessel slowly as the mixing is completed and then serves it to the children. The children are seen waiting for their turn to get half-a-glass of the diluted milk.  The local school has the strength of 171 students among which 81 turned up on Wednesday when they were served the glass of milk. 

Locals informed Gram Panchayat 

Gram Panchayat ward member Dev Patia alleged that a bucket of water was added to one litre of milk and distributed among 81 children in the primary school She said that as per the midday meal menu (MDM), "Tehri" (a rice dish) and milk was to be served to the children.

Image: UP school children wait for mid day meals. ANI

One litre of milk was made available to the cook by the school authorities. Then a bucket of water was added to the milk and it was distributed among the children, she added. She said that the locals have informed her that such incidents have happened in the past too in that school.

School authority unaware of the quality of milk served

Basic Shiksha Adhikari (BSA) Gorakhnath Patel said: "As soon as the matter came to my knowledge, I inspected the school and sought information from the school headmaster. "Such laxity will not be tolerated. A probe has been ordered into the matter. A team of Education Department officials will conduct a probe and submit a report within two days. Strict action will be taken against whosoever is found guilty in the probe."

UP mid day meal
Image: Staff preparing mid day meals in UP government school. ANI

I have the responsibility to look after two schools. Milk had to be arranged for both schools and I could not monitor the quantity of milk that reached the government primary school in Salaibanwa. The cook was provided the milk, which was distributed among the children and they drank it. - School head Shailesh Kanaujia

Strict action to be taken

Block Education Officer Mukesh Rai said that he received information from locals that water was added to the milk and served to the children. He said a probe had been ordered into the incident and strict action will be taken so that such instances are never repeated in the future. Senior Congress leader, Ajay Rai, said: "Even children are not getting a midday meal properly. The government has failed even in providing a proper meal for the children. This is an irony that diluted milk was served to the children in a government school".

mid day meals
A teacher said that plates were old and discarded. (Representational Image)Creative Commons

In August, a government school in Mirzapur was found to be serving flatbread with salt to schoolchildren as part of the midday meal. As a video of this got viral, a few education officials were transferred while the journalist who had broken the news was sent to jail.