Rising egg prices take a toll on mid-day meals

The skyrocketing prices have become a huge burden for mid-day meal agencies.

Karimnagar: With egg price skyrocketing, the poor who find egg as a good substitute for meat have been hit hard. Agencies involved in supplying mid-day meals are also feeling the pinch of rising price of eggs and are finding it difficult to include it in the menu.

While the price of chicken has crossed Rs 200 per kg, egg rates have seen a Rs 2 jump. The normal price of egg is Rs 3.50 to Rs 4, but it has shot up to Rs 5.50 reportedly due to decline in egg production in summer. Even small sized eggs cost Rs 5. The rising temperatures recorded in the State in the past couple of months have had an adverse impact on the poultry sector.

It has become a huge burden for mid-day meal agencies to serve eggs in the meal. Since the government is providing Rs 4 per egg, agencies have to bear remaining Rs 1.5. It has become a burden for agencies, which have not been paid bills of last three months.

Most of the agencies, run by women groups, are serving the food to students at lunch by borrowing money from private moneylenders.

With a view to provide nutritious food to students studying in government schools, eggs are being provided to each student thrice in a week. Besides egg, rice, curry and sambar have been served to students for lunch.

Under the scheme, government is providing Rs 6.18 to each student studying in Classes VI to VIII and Rs 8.18 for students of Classes IX and X.

Unable to follow the menu of providing egg thrice a week, some of the agencies are skipping a day while others are following it without fail.

Speaking to Telangana Today, Avunuri Bhulaxmi, who prepares meals in Zilla Parishad High School, Algunoor in Thimmapur mandal, said that they had to bear Rs 1.5 on each egg since traders were not ready to supply egg at Rs 4.

Except Rs 1,000 salary, they were unable to get a single rupee for preparing meals for students, said K Laxmi, mandal president of mid-day meal agency.

How could women groups continue the programme without getting sufficient amount, she questioned and wanted the government to enhance the amount according to market value.