Over 40,000 children studying in 147 government-run schools in six blocks of the district aren't being served midday meals for the last 10 days as rice meant to be distributed by state agencies is in short supply.
Bokaro district superintendent of education (DSE) Shiv Narain Singh claims he has written to officials of Food Corporation of India and State Food Corporation warning them of the impending crisis if they did not step up supply of rice. However, none paid heed to his SOS.
"FCI and SFC are solely responsible for the crisis which has forced schoolchildren to return home hungry," said deputy commissioner Satyendra Singh, who after receiving a letter from Shiv Narain has also sought the intervention of human resource development secretary Mridula Sinha.
Sources in the Bokaro administration revealed that out of eight blocks of Bokaro district, government schools in six Maoist-infested blocks of Nawadih, Kasmar, Jaridih, Gomia, Petarwar and Chandankyari have not been getting regular supply of rice since the last 10 days.
Of these, 78 schools of Nawadih block have been without rice for more than weeks. The DSE feared the situation would provide yet another opportunity for local residents, already under the influence of Maoist propaganda, to belittle the state government for its "inept handling of social schemes".
Deputy commissioner Singh promised to try his best to ensure that the supply of rice was resumed within the next two to three days.
"I will definitely recommend penalising officials responsible for the situation that forced the district to almost shut down the midday meal scheme," he said.
Bokaro, Aug. 5: Telegraph