Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan won't allow preschool students in the state to eat eggs.
On Monday, Indian Express reported that Chouhan, who is a strict vegetarian, had turned down a pilot project to serve egg curry or boiled eggs in anganwadi meals in the tribal areas of Alirajpur, Mandla and Hoshangabad districts.
Health experts recommend eggs as a source of protein for students. Women and Child Department officials proposed serving eggs at least two times a week to children between the ages of three to six at preschools in these three districts.
Some states including Tamil Nadu, Jharkhand and Orissa serve eggs in preschools.
Chouhan has said that eggs will never be served in Madhya Pradesh as long as he is chief minister. “Milk and bananas will be served, but never eggs," he has publicly declared.
S.K. Mishra, principal secretary to the chief minister, said that eggs were a "sentimental issue" with Chouhan, Indian Express reported. “It has been a sentimental issue with the CM from day one. Moreover, there are better, more nutritious options available," he said.
The Jain community has also opposed the serving off eggs in Madhya Pradesh. “The bureaucrats told us that they will introduce eggs only after the CM’s clearance. We were not convinced, so we reached him directly,’’ said Anil Badkul, spokesperson for the Digambar Jain Mahasamiti.
“Do eggs grow on trees? No. Its consumption has several side-effects. When children eat non-vegetarian food, their sensitivity dies,’’ he said. “Bachcho ko bachana hai, andon ko bachana hai (children have to be saved, eggs have to be saved).