For the children who opted not to consume eggs are provided with 20 gm of boiled potato, 20 gm boiled of black Bengal gram or green gram while they take noon meal at the schools. In addition, they are also given banana 100 gm, which are purchased locally by the meal organisers, thrice a week.
During the initial days of lockdown, the Social Welfare Department was distributing only dry rations to the students, after asking them to collect quota of ration from their schools. After the court’s directions, the children received 10 eggs for the month of October.
However, the students who opted for vegetarian ration have not been able to get the supplementary food in the last seven months starting from April. A senior official from the School Education Department told DT Next that 12,946 students part of the nutritious meal scheme have opted for vegetarian alternatives to eggs. There is no specific order to provide these alternative food material, he said, adding that some government and aided schools were providing extra quantity of rice and other food grains for these students. “Management of some schools provide bananas to the students on their own,” said the officials.
SK Mohana, a nutrition expert and dietitian, said one egg has about 80 calories, more than 5 grams of protein and fat, besides iron, vitamins, and minerals. “A 100 gm banana has about 90 calories besides 2 gm protein and fibre, while 100 gm boiled black Bengal gram has about 70 calories and 4 gm of protein,” she explained.
Pointing out that the main purpose of noon-meal scheme is to provide good nutrition to all the beneficiaries, PK Ilamaran, president, Tamil Nadu Teachers’ Association, said the government should take steps to provide the alternative food materials to the students who have opted out of eggs.