Mangaluru, Jan 19, 2018: A heated debate over discontinuation of midday meal grants to Sri Rama Vidyalaya, Kalladka and Sri Devi High School, Punacha, rocked the Zilla Panchayat general meeting at Nethravathi Auditorium in Zilla Panchayat premises on Jan 18, Thursday. Both the ruling and the Opposition parties sparred by mounting allegations and counter allegations on each other.
Akshara Dasoha Education Officer Rajalakshmi said that 1,423 schools are covered under Akshara Dasoha midday meal scheme in the district. However, Sri Rama Vidyalaya, Kalladka and Sri Devi High School, Punacha have expressed their unwillingness to receive midday meals under Akshara Dasoha.
Vehemently opposing the gesture by the management of two schools, ZP members from Congress M S Muhammed, Mamatha Gatty, Chandraprakash Shetty and others said that the two schools have refused meals but have received grants in the form of money provided by the Muzrai department earlier through Kollur temple. The schools have also taken grants towards Askhara Dasoha kitchen who are the beneficiaries of ‘Ksheera Bhagya’, where milk is distributed to children. Schoolchildren were made to participate in protests and beg on the streets which was inhuman, they said and accused BJP of carrying out petty politics over the midday meal issue.
Countering the allegations, ZP members from BJP, former ZP Chief Koragappa Naik, Harish Kanjipili, K Ravindra, Shayana Jayananda, K Pramila Janardhan and others condemned the state government’s move of stopping grants from Kollur Sri Mookambika Temple to these two schools. They meanwhile urged the authorities to revert to the earlier system.
Owing to the heated arguments between the members, the ZP president postponed the meeting by half an hour. When the meeting resumed, discussions on the midday meals continued. Both, the ruling and Opposition party members wanted resolutions to be passed on their behalf.
ZP CEO Dr M R Ravi said that as per the rules, two opposing resolutions cannot be passed during the ZP meet. Instead, the opinion of members will be recorded. The two schools were provided midday meal grants from Muzrai department and the grant was discontinued as per government orders. The Muzrai department does not come under the purview of ZP. In the beginning of the meet, ZP member Shayana Jayananda said that during a protest in Puttur against Deepak Rao’s murder, Puttur Sub Inspector had abused some protesters especially women and the ZP president by using foul language. A complaint has been submitted to the SP and ADGP but no action has been initiated against the SI.
Former ZP president Koragappa Naik said that the negligent attitude of district-level officers has deprived the beneficiaries of sites. The distribution of sites has been pending for years now, Naik said.
Another member, Sujatha K P, drew the attention of the members towards the depleting condition of overhead tanks in Kokkada. She urged the department concerned to repair the tank at the earliest so as to ensure proper drinking water supply in summer.
MLC and Government Chief Whip in Legislative Council Ivan D’Souza directed the officials concerned to prioritise drinking water projects. ZP president Meenakshi Shantigodu presided over the meet. Social Justice Standing Committee president Asha Timmappa Gowda, Education and Health Standing Committee president Shahul Hamid and Agriculture and Industries Standing Committee president Sarvottam Gowda were present.