For a long time, headlines on "potato" and "school lunches" usually addressed the new rules for school lunches discussed in the United States. Here is a different perspective on "potatoes as part of school lunches", from West Bengal (India).
The question here is: Who will purchase six lakh tonnes of potato lying in cold storage units in West Bengal?
With traders - who stocked the produce in cold storage - staring at huge losses as consumers prefer fresh potatoes coming to markets from other states, the state agriculture marketing department is now pleading with the school education department to purchase the potato for mid-day meals.
But last year, there were allegations of serving "rotten potatoes" to schools in mid-day meals around January-February, the reason why the quality of the potatoes to be supplied again in schools is already being questioned.
The agriculture marketing and education department officials discussed on Monday the possibility of supplying potatoes to 70,000 primary schools throughout the state where mid-day meals are cooked and served to children.
"About 5,000 to 7,000 tonnes of potatoes could be supplied to these schools, a week. That will take a lot of the stored potatoes," a senior official said on Tuesday. Chief minister Mamata Banerjee and chief secretary Samar Ghosh will take the final decision on this on Wednesday. The school education department apparently has no problem with it, but the decision has to be taken at the top-most level.