Food security allowance to continue for Odisha school students during lockdown

Bhubaneswar: The students enrolled in state-run schools in Odisha will continue to get food security allowance for 8 weeks under Mid-day meal (MDM) programme during COVID-19 lockdown, an office order stated.

The Government is pleased to allow the distribution of food security allowance under MDM programme (both rice and cooking cost) during COVID-19 lockdown to the eligible students as per MDM Rules for 57 days for the period from June 14 to August 31 this year for school working days at one go in the second phase with a few modalities, said a letter from the State School & Mass Education Additional Secretary to the State Nodal Officer (MDM) on Friday.

As per the order, the dry ration (rice) will be provided to students for 57 days at schools by concerned headmaster in presence of School Management Committee (SMC) members.

In case, any school might have MDM rice for more than 8 weeks, the Cluster Resource Centre Coordinator (CRCC) will re-allocate the excess rice and divert the same to nearby schools having deficit MDM rice maintaining proper accounts. If the MDM rice runs out of stock in any school, coupons will be issued to the guardians of students to enable them receive the ration from the previously tagged FPS or PDS outlets.

The order stated that the authorities will make payment of cooking cost for 57 days directly to the account of school students/parents on DBT mode.

If the school building might have been used for quarantine centre or temporary medical camp or Covid care home and it remains vacated, the building will be sanitised and handed over back to the headmaster. After sanitisation, the premises will be used as a distribution centre of Food Security Allowance under MDM programme.

If the quarantine centre in the school is still in operation, but the school authorities and SMC members have access to headmaster’s chamber and store room of MDM rice, arrangement will be made to take away the MDM rice to the nearby school or community centre and use the same as Food Security Allowance distribution centree. The transportation of rice from the school used as quarantine centre to the nearby school will be done by the cook-cum-helper or the local Self Help Group (SHG) or by local labourer. The transport cost can be met from the sales of gunny bags or the interest money available in the school or with District Education Officer (DEO).

If the quarantine centre is in operation and the rice stored therein cannot be shifted to other places due to accommodation of positive inmates or other contingent circumstances, the fact may be intimated to Collector through DEO.

The headmasters have been assigned to explore option for handing over the MDM rice at economic cost of Rs 32 per kg to the food supplier or cooking agency for that quarantine centre. The same cost will be deposited with DEO.

In the letter, the authority ordered to strictly adhere to COVID-19 safety norms by wearing masks, sanitising hands and maintaining social distance during transportation of ration for distribution.

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