Mid-day meals provided by The Akshaya Patra Foundation being distributed to students at a state-run school

Agartala: A few days after taking the decision to hand over 20 state-run schools to the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), the state government has now decided to give the responsibility of supplying mid-day meals for about 25,000 students of West Tripura district of Tripura to The Akshaya Patra Foundation (TAPF), a Bengaluru-based non-profit organisation.

Speaking at a religious event on Thursday evening, chief minister Biplab Kumar Deb said that the organisation has been given responsibility to supply food under the mid-day meal project on an experimental basis. Akshaya Patra is already providing mid-day-meals through its 43 kitchens in 13 states in India, he added.

Deb also said that the organisation will add 40% money in addition to the fund allocated by the Central government for the mid-day meal project.

Speaking about the initiative, education minister Ratan Lal Nath said that the cabinet has already approved the decision. He said that the organisation will be in charge of supplying food in Agartala and suburban schools.

Education minister further added that they would build centralised kitchens at three places in Agartala and its suburbs. From there, food will be provided to the schools. He also said that the centralised kitchen of the foundation would be set up in three locations — Agartala, Dhukli and Jirania.

Also Read: India’s 4 most polluted rivers flow past Tripura: Rajendra Singh

At present, every student in the junior basic school and in senior basic school has been allocated Rs 4.40 and Rs 6.51, respectively. However, with Akshaya Patra’s additional 40% contribution, the allocation will increase to Rs 6.50 and Rs 9, respectively.

Earlier, at a meeting held on June 20, the council of ministers had decided to hand over 20 schools to ISKCON on the condition of providing quality education in those schools.

The Indian Tribal Care Trust, a wing of the ISKCON, will provide education to the students in the remote tribal areas of Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC). Although ISKCON had applied for 53 schools, the Cabinet decided to hand over only 20 to them for five years. Of these 20, seven are in West Tripura district, one in Gomati, two in Khowai, three in Sepahijala and seven schools in South Tripura district.

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