Headmaster, Teacher In Mid-day Meal Theft

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New Delhi, Nov 20 (UNI) Disciplinary action has been initiated against an Andhra Pradesh headmaster and an Orissa teacher for theft of Mid-day meals meant for 6-to-14-year-old-schoolgoers, Parliament was told today.

Those two were among several instances of pilferage listed by Minister of State for Human Resource Development M A A Fatmi in a written reply in the Lok Sabha.

In Orissa, a teacher was caught selling rice meant for Mid-day meal scheme in Jagatsinghpur District. Disciplinary action has been initiated.

In the Capital, three service providers picked up two rice-laden trucks from a Food Corporation of India godown and drove it to Narela for sale in the open market.

Foodgrains for Mid-day meals are transacted at prices set for below poverty line consumers-- which is about half of market price.

Investigations resulted in the blacklisting of Jan Sevak Associates, Bal Bhoj and Shade India Society.

In Bihar, inquiry has been initiated into black-marketing of Mid-day foodgrains after stocks were found in a teacher's house in West Champaran.

In Andhra Pradesh, the government has initiated disciplinary action against a headmaster for ''misuse'' of Mid-day meal rice in West Godawari District.

In Punjab, Jalandhar police is investigating the reported theft of five bags of wheat from a primary school in Bhargo Nagar.

In Uttar Pradesh, two of three complaints received were ''not found to be correct.'' But three Bulandshahar non-governmental organisations-- not named-- had their contracts cancelled after eight rice-laden trucks meant for Mid-day meals were seized by police in Samaipur Badli district of Northwest Delhi.

In Rajasthan, too, a complaint about sale of Mid-day foodgrain in market and embezzlement of funds turned out to be ''baseless.'' Fatmi was answering questions asked by Bharatiya Janata Party members Hansraj G Ahir and G M Siddeswara and Indian National Congress members M Rajamohan Reddy, Adhir Chowdhury and Nikhil Kumar.

The Minister denied a report published by the Hindustan Times that Mid-day meal scheme faces ''acute crisis'' because of rising prices of wheat and rice.

Fatmi said ''no communication'' about enhancement of prices of wheat and rice for the scheme ''has been received'' from the Food and Public Distribution Department.

The foodgrain cost is reimbursed at BPL rates, he said.

UNI

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