Hike rates

SHG: Drop dues, raise fares, otherwise no lunch from next month | Goa News

Panaji: Midday meal providers from five talukas met with the director of education on Wednesday and demanded that the meal prices be increased by the government at the earliest or else they will be forced to cut off the supply at from next month. Women’s self-help groups that provide midday meals said some of their pending bills of up to Rs 10 lakh have yet to be settled.
Suppliers come from the talukas of Mormugao, Ponda, Salcete, Tiswadi and Pernem. A Canacona-based self-help group has already stopped providing midday meals to nearly 2,000 students.
“In June, we were promised that the prices would be increased within 15 days and therefore to continue to serve lunches at the start of the school year. It’s been four months now, apart from the rate hike, they haven’t even paid our dues. How are we going to provide midday meals when schools reopen after the Diwali break in November,” said one supplier.
Vendors said inflation along with a revised midday meal menu, where items like pao were replaced with idlis, made it impossible for them to continue supplying.
“They should at least pay our existing bills. If we are not paid a higher rate from November 4, we have clarified that we will not be able to provide meals. It’s impossible. Some groups have up to Rs 10 lakh payment pending from where should we get funds to continue supply,” said one woman.
The women said they cooperated with the government and, as noted, provided dry rations instead of meals during the Covid pandemic when schools were closed. We have only received payment now, she added.
“During Covid we were asked to provide dry rations to parents and we did. The bills for the dry ration have only now been paid. We have done everything so that the children do not suffer. It is not possible to provide cooked meals at the current price. But we have borne the loss and have continued to provide the meals so far so that the children do not suffer. But we won’t be able to go any further if the rate isn’t revised,” a supplier said.