Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Rice not so 'fine'

Though the state government claims that fine quality rice is being supplied in the midday meal in schools and government hostels, the ground reality is different.

It is true that for the last two months since the scheme began, students were happy with the fine quality rice. But things have changed just after schools reopened.

The coarse rice instead fine quality is being supplied to the hostels and Ashram schools in interior tribal areas due to lack of supervision by the officials.

The rice becomes sticky when cooked unlike fine quality rice and students are complaining of the strong unpleasant smell. It is found that third grade rice is being supplied to the hostels and schools in the name of fine rice.

There are strong allegations that rice millers colluding with some corrupt officials indulging in the fine quality rice scheme.

However, many government teachers working in the interior areas say that ordinary rice in place of fine quality was only supplied for midday meals and hostels in interior areas like Kotapalli, Vemanpalli and Chennur mandals and also in the Agency mandals in the district.  

Doke Bheemkka, mid-day meal worker, at Jagannathpur village in Kagaznagar mandal said the rice being supplied was not tasty and emanated a foul smell, so they returned the coarse rice to the rice distribution point for exchange when students complained over the rice quality.

Another midday meal worker, Kursinga Thonebai of Gond Jhari in Kerameri mandal, said they were getting ordinary rice and there was no taste and smell that one gets from cooked rice.

S. K Sameer, studying in Class IX at the government school in the Adilabad town, the rice supplied was not as tasty (‘Khana taste Nahihai … Dal Pathla Karke Dere..) and the dal was watery.

Some of the teachers working in the tribal ashram schools in Utnoor say that the rice is becomes sticky after cooking though the rice was of fine quality and it  depends on cooking methods and cooks.

Fine quality rice is being diverted to other destinations from the stock points itself and common rice being supplied in place of fine rice.

On the other hand, the area of paddy cultivation has come down in the major rice producing district Karimnagar and Nizmabad due to prolonged drought conditions in the last four Agriculture seasons and the yield has also come down.

Some of the rice millers of Karimnagar shifted their rice mills to bordering Chattisgarh due to high rate of levy on the rice imposed by the state government.  Some of the rice millers allegedly supplied common rice procured from Maharashtra and Chattisgarh in the name of fine quality rice to the schools and hostels.     

According to official sources, fine quality rice is being supplied to 3,850 government schools where 3, 24, 490 students are studying in the district.