Jaipur, July 9 :
Former US president Bill Clinton will visit a kitchen run here by an NGO next week to oversee a lunch programme that feeds over one million school children daily across India.
The kitchen in Jaipur is northern India’s largest run by the NGO Akshay Patra.
It feeds almost 1.5 lakh people, including 1.25 lakh school children studying in 1,100 government schools in Jaipur district daily as part of the mid-day meal scheme.
On July 16, “President Clinton will visit a kitchen in Jaipur that is part of a school lunch programme that feeds over one million children daily across India,” the Clinton Foundation said in a statement.
According to the human resource development ministry website, the mid-day meal scheme is the world’s largest school feeding programme reaching out to about 12 crore children in over 12.65 lakh schools across the country.
Work in the Akshaya Patra Foundation’s kitchen in Jagatpura on the outskirts of Jaipur starts at 4 a.m. In the next 4-5 hours, dal, rice and rotis are prepared in over 4,000 utensils by over 450 people to feed 1.25 lakh school children in and around Jaipur as their mid-day meal.
The kitchen is fully mechanized and even rotis are cooked in two machines. Each of the machines is capable of producing 40,000 rotis in an hour.
“We have got 450 people, including dieticians, who prepare the menu for a month in advance. Based on their requirements, vegetables, dal (lintels) and other things are purchased,” R. Govinda Dasa, Jaipur unit president of the Akshaya Patra Foundation, told IANS.
He said the food is prepared keeping in mind the calories, fats and protein requirement of a child and high standards of quality are maintained at each and every level.
Usually two rotis, a vegetable dish, dal and rice is provided to every child, and once a week a sweet dish is also given to the children.
The foundation also provides food to about 20,000 Anganwadi workers and 4,000 daily wage labourers at over 40 locations across the city every evening at a nominal price of Rs.5 per person.
Clinton will visit Lucknow the next day. He will go to a school and a community centre that, through the Clinton Health Access Initiative, are providing health care training and information on treating diarrhoea, as well as educating mothers through self-help groups and school children through classes on lifesaving treatments, the statement said.