‘Santrupti’ scheme provides free lunch for students who come to laboratory classes from far-flung areas
Mysuru: A sort of ‘Akshaya Patra’ scheme that provides free mid-day meals to school students has begun at Maharani’s Science College. Named ‘Santrupti’, the initiative provides free and nutritious lunch for students, mostly from the rural parts of Mysuru and Chamarajanagar who travel from far-flung areas.
These students start from their homes early to travel 70 to 80 kilometres and reach the college at 8 am. Due to the early schedule, they do not have much time to pack lunch and even their parents cannot rise early and cook food. If they wait for the food to be cooked, they will miss the crucial laboratory classes.
After attending the classes and long laboratory schedules, most of the time they stay hungry and reach home as late as 8 pm, exhausted. While some students frequent canteens and nearby snack stalls, many remain hungry as they cannot afford to buy food from the canteen or eateries.
Realising the problem, the management of the Maharani’s Science College launched the initiative where hot food is served to the students. With an aim to seek quality education, students come here from places including H.D. Kote, K.R. Pet, Nagamangala, Kollegal, Chamarajanagar, Nanjangud, K.R. Nagar and Periyapatna.
Leave homes at 6 am
“They start from home at 6 am to reach the college by 8 am to attend the laboratories and don’t get time to pack lunch. We observed that a few students fainted during the practical classes at the science lab as they skipped lunch. We felt the need to feed them and together with teachers, we have launched the initiative of providing free lunch. The main objective of ‘Santrupti’ is that the students should not stay hungry,” Principal of the College Dr. D. Ravi told Star of Mysore.
As there are no special funds for this scheme from the Government, the Principal and staff decided to pool in money. The overall food expenses will be around Rs. 70,000 per month and already Rs. 1 lakh has been collected. Lunch is served between 1 pm and 1.30 pm and the college canteen has been given the responsibility of serving hot and hygienic food.
“Arrangements have been made to provide lunch for 100 students every day, irrespective of caste and religion. Our lecturers volunteered for this and ‘Santrupti’ was launched on Jan. 16 where over 60 students are being benefited,” Dr. Ravi said.
Distance factor considered
Students who are eligible for the scheme are selected by the Students Welfare Committee and the distance between their homes and the college is the main criteria. “Tokens are distributed to such students and the tokens can be handed over to the food counters. Rice-sambar, tomato bath, puliyogare, pulav and other vegetarian delicacies are served as per the menu,” Dr. Ravi added.
Initially, the idea of ‘Santrupti’ was floated in the interest of students by Dr. Ravi and he received overwhelming response and support from over 40 professors and lecturers. Everyone contributed as the scheme was aimed at protecting the interests of the students and would increase their studiousness and academic performance.
“We understood the pain of the students who were forced to stay hungry and could not concentrate on studies and laboratory work. We have not taken any grants from the Government funds and we have not reached out yet to philanthropists. We want to continue the scheme and will plan the accumulation of funds in the due course,” Dr. Ravi said.
On their part, students too are happy with ‘Santrupti’ as they can focus on studies. Both undergraduate and post-graduate students from all the three years are eligible for the scheme and before the Students Welfare Committee finalises the names, the distance factor is taken into consideration.