Complete work on 8 school kitchens by Sept 30: Centre to Chandigarh

PM-POSHAN: Only 7 of 15 ready so far; 20 more nutrition gardens set to come up, says administration

Complete work on 8 school kitchens by Sept 30: Centre to Chandigarh

A kitchen at a government school in Chandigarh. Photo: Pradeep Tewari

Tribune News Service

Naina Mishra

Chandigarh, July 3

The Centre has asked the Chandigarh Education Department to complete the construction of previously sanctioned eight kitchen-cum-stores under the Pradhan Mantri Poshan Shakti Nirman (PM-POSHAN) scheme by September 30.

As on December 2021, the construction of seven kitchens had been completed, while that of eight was in progress. At a project approval board (PAB) meeting, the Centre advised the UT Administration to complete the construction of earlier sanctioned eight kitchens by September 30.

The administration has developed school nutrition gardens (SNGs) with the help of the Forest Department in 70 (57%) of the 122 schools. Varieties of vegetables are being grown in the SNGs and the same are being used as additional vegetables in PM-POSHAN. The administration has said it will develop 20 more SNGs in school compounds during 2022-23.

The PAB has also advised the UT Administration to explore the feasibility of using own resources to meet the additional nutritional requirement of children.

So far, Chandigarh has awarded a tender to Verka Milk Plant, Mohali, to provide sweet flavoured milk once a week to the eligible students. The PAB has further advised that under the provisions of Section 28 of the National Food Security Act, it is mandatory to conduct social audit. The Ministry of Education (MoE) is not involved in social audit conducted during FY- 2021-22, it has said.

As per PM-POSHAN guidelines, social audit is to be conducted in all schools of the UT in a phased manner. The Centre has advised that Chandigarh should ensure a public hearing be conducted in the presence of representative of the MoE and children are included as major stakeholders of the scheme in the social audit process.

The Centre has also raised concern over the issue of per day meals, which were served to the children at an extremely high cost in Chandigarh. Further, there is less utilisation of foodgrains (only 36%), less utilisation of cooking cost (41%), very less utilisation of transport assistance (22%), less utilisation of management, monitoring and evaluation [MME] (49%), eight kitchens have not yet been completed since FY 2012-l3, and testing of food samples was not conducted during 2021-22.

Project approval board meet: Takeaways

  • UT must explore feasibility of using own resources to meet additional nutritional requirement of children
  • Conduct social audit as it is mandatory under Section 28 of the National Food Security Act

Concerns raised

  • Per day meals served at extremely high cost
  • Eight kitchens not been completed since FY 2012-l3
  • Testing of food samples not conducted during 2021-22

Tribune Shorts


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