The government set up two centralised kitchens in Nashik and Palghar district, to provide nutritious food to the Ashram Shala students, which could cater 43 schools.
The community kitchen food scheme is reaching only the ashram shalas, despite deaths due to malnutrition among tribal children of anganwadis (nursery schools) in various districts.
The community kitchen food does not reach the more vulnerable tribal children at Anganwadis in Jawhar and Mokhada tehsils, a senior government official today said.
Speaking on the condition of anonymity, the officer said the state government spends Rs 1,997 per head for the 20,000 students of ashram schools per month.
“The community kitchen run by Akshay Patra at Kambalgaon covers around 25 schools and the one at Mundegaon covers 18 ashram schools,” he said. It is a corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiative of the Tata Trust.
He, however did not comment on the need to open another community kitchen in Jawhar and Mokhada tehsils, where recent deaths occurred.
The officer said there was a plan to open a community kitchen on pilot basis in another tribal-dominated district, Gadchiroli.
The government has asked the metropolis health care services to conduct a survey of the health of the ashram school children. It will assess the impact of the nutritious food being provided to them for the last one year, he said.
The survey will take into account hemoglobin level, height and weight, etc. Besides, the government would hire the services of General Mills food-company and Tata Technology for educational development, the officer said.
In the near future, the government also intends to start e-classrooms in ashram schools, he added.