Faizabad. The Mid Day Meal scheme of the government has always been in the news for wrong reasons. While the poor quality of food gets a lot of attention, the women who are hired to cook this meal are facing problems related to payment of wages. In Faizabad, these cooks have not been paid for the work.
‘We’ve not been paid a single rupee in the last 6 months. Even then, our allowance is a mere Rs. 1,000 for a month. What good is that supposed to do? Even if we were daily wage workers and worked for half a month, we’d manage to make substantially more than this,’ says Niramala, a cook in the Primary School in Unchgaon.
‘Most of us are in debt. It is impossible to run our homes and the school kitchens if we don’t get paid. The money doesn’t even come to our bank accounts. It goes to the joint account of the Principal and the Village Head who are then supposed to disburse the funds,’ explains Vidyawati, another cook in the village.
School Principal Indravati Verma said, ‘We’ve been sending a request to the district every month now but there has been no word from them. It’s not just our school but all villages in the Taarun block have the same problem. The funds have not been released from the District itself.’
The Block Coordinator for the MDM scheme in Taarun Gayaprasad also agreed with the Principal’s statement. ‘We’ve already intimated the District and are expecting some notification soon.’
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