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Move to bring in ISKCON for meal scheme opposed

By Our Staff Correspondent

DAVANGERE, NOV. 4. The Karnataka Rajya Akshara Dasoha Bisi Oota Tayarakara Okkoota, a federation of workers engaged in the preparation of midday meals in schools, has opposed the proposed move of the Government to engage the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) temple committee to provide midday meals.

Agitation

The federation, which is affiliated to All India Trade Union Congress, has also threatened to launch an agitation if the Government fails to drop the idea immediately.

H.K. Ramachandrappa, president of the federation and senior Communist leader, told presspersons here on Thursday that the project to provide midday meals to schoolchildren had not only helped increase the attendance in schools, but also generated employment.

Lakhs of youth, who had been employed in the project, would become unemployed if ISKCON were to be given the job.

The Government had appointed four cooks from general category, Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and other backward communities under the scheme in each school, and had tried to enhance communal harmony by doing so.

He said that this would be missing if ISKCON were to be appointed as an agency under the mid-day meal scheme.

Mr. Ramachandrappa said that it was surprising that the Minister for Revenue, M.P. Prakash, was encouraging an organisation such as ISKCON, which had its origins in the United States.

Mr. Prakash is believed to have given ISCKON the responsibility of providing midday meals in two schools at Hadagali recenlty.

Demands

Mr. Ramachandrappa has put forth a few demands, which include job guarantee to workers of the scheme, 10 days' leave a year with salary, risk allowance, salary through banks, and training to the head cook in recording and maintaining proper accounts.

He also asked the Government to restrict the school betterment committees from interfering in the appointment and removal of workers and cooks under the scheme.

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