If vegetarian parents do not want their children to be served eggs in mid-day meals at school, then authorities should arrange to provide it at home to students whose families have no objection to it, the Chhattisgarh government has directed. The direction came on Tuesday after there was opposition to the state Congress government's proposal to serve eggs in mid-day meals at government schools. The school education department in January this year suggested including eggs or milk or another food item with equivalent nutrition value in the mid-day meal twice a week.
On Tuesday, the department asked district collectors to hold a meeting of the Shala Vikas Samitis (school development committees) and parents within two weeks to identify students who do not want eggs in the mid-day meal. "Eggs should be cooked separately and while serving meals, separate sitting arrangement should be made for vegetarian students," the department said in a statement.
The vegetarian students should be provided soya milk, protein crunch, fortified biscuits, or cooked fortified pulses as an alternative, it said. "But, if there is no agreement on serving eggs (if vegetarian parents do not want it at the school at all), then the school development committee concerned should devise a system to serve eggs to students (who want to have it) at their homes," the department added.
Some members of the Kabir Panthi sect last week staged a protest in Kabirdham district over their demand for removal of eggs from the mid-day meal menu, saying their children study at government schools and eggs were against their ethos.
The opposition BJP and the Janata Congress Chhattisgarh (J) raised the issue in the state Assembly on Monday, asking the government to respect the sentiments of the Kabir Panthis.
The Congress MLAs defended the decision, saying eggs would help prevent malnourishment among children in tribal and other backward areas.