Mid-day meals would be provided to school children through a centralised kitchen under the state's mid-day meal scheme, Maharashtra School Education Minister Rajendra Darda said here today.
Replying to a question from Kalidas Kolamkar of the Congress during Question Hour of the assembly, Darda said that a centralised kitchen plan was finalised as early as September 2012, but since a self-help group has moved the court, the government would be able to implement the plan only after the the court case is over.
Intervening during the reply, Speaker Dilip Walse Patil said he would soon ensure a meeting with the State Advoca teGeneral and others concerned to speed up the legal process of the case, so that the centralised kitchen plan is implemented at the earliest.
Darda said he would engage private lawyers and seek the opinion of senior legal experts to expedite the court case.
The Speaker said that during a meeting with the Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister, he and others had already gone through the presentation.
To a query from Vijay Wadettiwar and others, Darda replied that the Maharashtra State Co-operative Marketing Federation Ltd, Mumbai, had been supplying sub-standard foodgrains to schools in the Chiplun block of Ratnagiri district.
This was proved after foodgrain samples were sent to a government laboratory for testing. The laboratory report made it clear that the foodgrains supplied were not fit for human consumption, he said.
After the lab report was received, a show-cause notice has been issued to the supplier asking why it should not be blacklisted, he said.
The Ratnagiri Zilla Parishad CEO too had recommended to the Directorate of Education to cancel Maharashtra State Co-operative Marketing Federation Ltd's contract to supply foodgrains and blacklist it, he said. The centralised kitchen plan would help the government provide quality nutritious mid-day meals to school children, the Speaker said.
The Speaker also acknowledged that during the first phase, 1.5 lakh students from four talukas would benefit from the centralised kitchen plan, under which food would be cooked in about three hours and reach the schools in the next two hours.