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Implement APY to prevent tragedy in Maharashtra schools: NGO
Friday July 19, 2013 8:23 PM, IANS

A voluntary organisation Friday urged the Maharashtra government to implement the APY (Akshaya Patra Yojana) scheme in the state to prevent recurrence of a tragedy like Bihar in which 23 school children died after eating mid-day meal.

In a letter to Education Minister Rajendra Darda and Tribal Development Minister Madhukar Pichat, Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti (VJAS) chief Kishore Tiwari said the APY scheme supplies hygienic food cooked in centralised kitchens to over 1.30 million kids in more than 9,000 government schools in the country daily.

The APY is currently functioning in Assam, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, and aims to serve five million children daily by 2020.

"At present, the mid-day meal scheme (in Maharashtra) is in a very pathetic condition. Food given in tribal schools is too bad. Time has come to start the centralised kitchen meal scheme," Tiwari said in the letter.

"We have always said that we are a very rich country with a lot of poor people, that's the sad part of it. Our government has very good programmes, very good leaders and a huge budget. But the challenge in our country is how to deliver these good programmes up to the last mile," says Chanchalapathi Dasa, vice chairman of Akshaya Patra Foundation, on the foundation's website.

"I think that with everybody's support and with the power of music, we are going to spread it like anything," said APY brand ambassador singer-composer Shankar Mahadevan.

According to Tiwari, Maharashtra has an annual outlay of more than Rs.10,000 crore for providing food to school children. But corruption and mismanagement has marred its implementation.

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