Noon meal centres lack maintenance

At the Coimbatore Corporation’s Higher Secondary School at Rathinapuri, stands a kitchen where the earthen oven is in a bad shape. The bricks that make up the oven are completely damaged in that what remains at present are broken bricks levelled by accumulated ash.

To help the noon meal worker cook noon meal without much of a trouble the local people with support from the Councillor have sponsored an iron tripod.

Complementing the damaged oven are floors with cracks and rat holes, broken asbestos roof that leaks during rain and damaged shelf, the support wall of which hangs without support at the base. It is in such situation that the noon meal worker there cooks lunch for 250 boys and girls, spending more than three hours every working day morning.

The situation at the noon meal centre at the Corporation’s Elementary School, which is behind the Higher Secondary School, is no different. The soot-filled walls mirror the condition in which she works.

Here too the damaged floor and leaky roof complement the earthen oven. The rat hole is present here as well.

To protect the groceries from rain and rats, the noon meal staff at both the schools have moved them to safe locations - at a classroom at the elementary school and at an enclosure beneath the stairs at the higher secondary school.

This has been the condition for over two years now at the higher secondary school and a little more than that at the elementary school. At the latter, around 150 students have noon meal.

At the elementary school, the students do not have a place to have food. They are forced to use the verandah. A. Mohanraj, president, Parent-Teachers’ Association, says that the students suffer from the dust kicked up by students playing on the playground.

At the higher secondary school there is no lab for Class X students. The absence of the lab has been there for the last two years after the State Government introduced practical examination for the students.

The water treatment units to supply purified, safe drinking water are also under repair.

The area Councillor – Ward 49’s Meena Loganathan – says that she has spoken about the poor kitchens at many a Council meeting in the last two years but nothing much has been done.

She sought inclusion of the works to be carried out in the schools by presenting a wish list in the run up to the Corporation Budget last year. This year also she has done the same. “Both the lists are identical as no work has taken place last year.”

Sources in the Corporation say that they will consider the list and improve facilities in the school.

Source: The Hindu

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