Centre to dispatch team to review alleged irregularities in midday meal scheme in West Bengal: Pradhan

Education minister, Dharmendra Pradhan said that Central officials, state officials and experts from the state will be part of the proposed team.

Mid day meals. (Picture: Shutterstock)Mid day meals. (Picture: Shutterstock)

Press Trust of India | January 14, 2023 | 06:46 PM IST

KOLKATA: Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan Saturday said the Centre will soon dispatch a team to review implementation of midday meal scheme in different parts of West Bengal. Pradhan told reporters after a closed door organisational meeting of BJP here, that the joint team will consist of central and state officials and its arrival will be announced soon.

"We had read about some reports about irregularities in midday meal (PM Poshan Scheme) in newspapers. On January 5, Leader of Opposition Suvendu Adhikari had also submitted a note about largescale irregularities on the same issue. Hence while in 2020 the state had objected to the visit of any such joint review mission (JRM), this time we are determined to send a JRM.

Also Read | Centre to review PM POSHAN scheme implementation in West Bengal

"Central officials, state officials and experts from the state will be part of the proposed team," he added. Adhikari, in a letter to Pradhan on January 5, urged the Union Education minister to send a central audit team to probe alleged largescale misappropriation of midday meal funds.

The Mamata Banerjee government recently allotted an additional Rs 371 crore for chicken and seasonal fruits to be served once weekly in addition to the existing midday meal menu of rice, potato, soyabean and eggs once in a week for the 11.6 million children in state-run and aided schools.

Asked about recent claim by Trinamool Congress National General Secretary Abhishek Banerjee that many BJP MLAs had been in touch with him, Pradhan said "TMC is making such claims as it understands BJP has become the first choice among the people of West Bengal. Out of fear of losing power the TMC has resorted to peddling such lies."

Also Read | ‘No fruit or milk’: Food inflation making mid-day meals lighter, less nutritious

"Our candidates were stopped from submitting nominations in the 2018 panchayat polls and we got 18 seats in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. In the 2021 Assembly elections, we became the number one opposition party in West Bengal. Now with several TMC leaders in jail for corruption, Trinamool can see the writing on the wall and making such wild claims out of desperation" he said.

The TMC national general secretary made such a claim at a public meeting in Nadia district in December last year. He had claimed though many BJP MLAs had sent feelers to TMC, but the party will keep its guards on and "we have our own process of screening."

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