CHILDREN ARE GETTING LOW QUALITY AND INSUFFICIENT FOOD, HENCE THERE IS A LACK OF NUTRITION. CORRUPTION IS INVOLVED IN THE DELIVERY SYSTEM. FAKE ENROLMENTS ARE BEING DONE TO EMBEZZLE MONEY. THESE RACKETS ARE KILLING THIS VERY IMPORTANT SCHEME, AND THE MAIN REASON IS LACK OF GUIDELINES AND INSTITUTIONALISATION.

The self-help group that supplied midday meal to about 932 students in Valpoi were ordered to be closed down by The Food and Drugs Administration (FDA), on Monday after it was found to be operating from unlicensed premises. A bakery supplying bread to the SHG was also ordered to be shut down as it was operating without a proper FDA license. Both units were also found to be extremely filthy.

FDA director Salim Veljee confirmed the closure of the SHG in Valpoi over various violations. An official, who was part of the inspection team, informed the FDA inspected the licensed premises of Bhumika Mahila Mandal (BMM), an SHG headed by Sangeeta Mandrekar. During the visit at the premises at Dhava-Sattari, no activity was noticed. “The premises were unhygienic and we ordered it closed after the spot inspection,” the official said.

Later, the inspection team visited Velus, the actual place where the SHG prepares the mid-day meal. The officer said the SHG was found cooking the midday meals on the unauthorized premises. A bakery was also found to be functioning from the same premises without an FDA license. “We ordered both to be closed after the spot inspection,” the official added.

Valpoi assistant district education inspector (ADEI) and the education department have been informed about the closure notice given to the SHG. The schools are to be informed by the inspector not to accept food from the said NGO until further orders. “We will submit a written report to the education department on Tuesday,” the official said.

The FDA team also inspected two other SHGs in Valpoi on Monday. Operators were directed to rectify minor deficiencies noticed during the inspection, the officer said. The inspection team comprised food safety officers Rajaram Patil, Shivdas Naik, Mahadev Kavlekar and Shruti Pilarnkar. Arjun Naik and Pradeep Parsekar also offered their assistance.

Do you feel midday meals should be stopped completely? Or they need a better inspection from the schools before accepting orders? Leave your valuable comment.

SOURCE: TOI | THE HINDU | DNA

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