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‘Why not midday meal scheme for PG students?'

Special Correspondent

Bangalore: Bangalore University Vice-Chancellor N. Prabhu Dev has appealed to Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa to introduce a programme to provide midday meals for postgraduate students in all universities in the State with an annual grant of Rs. 50 lakh each.

He was speaking at the launch of ‘Nutritious Meal Programme' on the Bangalore University campus, being introduced in collaboration with International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON).

The scheme will provide meals to about 2,000 postgraduate students on the Nagarabhavi campus, who do not stay in hostels, at a subsidised rate of Rs. 3 per meal. Mr. Dev said 1,800 students had already enrolled under the scheme and more were expected to join. The university staff can also get the meal at Rs.10. The university does not have a canteen, and it has set aside Rs. 45 lakh for the new scheme this year.

For rural students

Mr. Dev said the scheme was aimed at providing food to students of Bangalore University who come to the campus from rural areas on an empty stomach, leaving home early and reaching home late. “Many go hungry throughout the day,” he said. The scheme, initially to be introduced only on the Jnana Bharati campus, will be introduced on the Central College campus after about three months, he added.

Sivakumara Swami of Siddhaganga Math, Tumkur, who inaugurated the scheme by serving the first meal to students, said illiteracy and poverty continued to be the nation's two big enemies even after six decades of Independence. “Wealth is getting concentrated in the hands of a few and generosity is no longer seen as a value,” he said.

‘Not charity'

Chanchalapati Das from ISKCON said the organisation serves 12.9 lakh schoolchildren in eight States under the Akshaya Patra Scheme and 2.2 lakh students are beneficiaries in Bangalore schools alone. The scheme that started 11 years ago has slowly gained acceptance and several governments, including the Karnataka Government, had become partners in the programme, he said. “Students should see this scheme as a facility and not charity,” he said.

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