Putting an end to an argument that was raised earlier, the Karnataka state government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with The Akshaya Patra Foundation (TAPF). In November, complaints were raised against TAPF, citing that children were not being given nutritious food. Furthermore, some activists alleged that lack of garlic and onions in the meals resulted in bland food which discouraged children from consuming the food.
However setting aside these issues, the government seems to have come to an understanding with TAPF and has signed the MoU, reinstating the foundation’s credibility to provide midday meals to school children.
“We had put forth an MoU last year, and that has now been accepted by the government. Akshaya Patra is committed to serving nutritious, tasty, hygiene food. This is the objective we have always held and will continue to do so. It is the message and mission that is extremely close to our hearts and we will continue at all costs to provide this service to the children,” TAPF representative Naveena Neerada Dasa told TNM.
While the MoU was presented by the foundation to the government earlier, it has only now been accepted.
The Food Commission had earlier raised a few concerns after the quality of the meals being served by Akshaya Patra came under scrutiny. Head of the Food Commission, N Krishnamurthy had stated to TNM earlier that, “Each child is supposed to be given 150 gm of food per day. But in many schools, especially in Ballari district, the quantity of food being given to the children was less than 150 gm per meal.” Another allegation that was raised was that the food was too bland for the children who didn’t eat it because it didn’t taste good. In some instances, the Commission allegedly found that the milk being served to the children was cold, spoilt and did not adhere to the Ksheera Bhagya scheme.
Though the CEO of the Zilla Panchayat, Bangalore Urban refused to sign the MoU citing the above reasons, it has now been reported that the MoU will be reinstated. However, a conclusion has yet to be reached regarding the inclusion of garlic and onions in the midday meals.