This Week in India

BY: SUN STAFF

Aug 14, USA (SUN) — The ISKCON mid-day meal programme, Akshaya Patra Foundation, announced it will begin to extend services to all government schools in Dakshina Kannada district. Akshaya Patra Foundation's Programme coordinator, Nama Nishtha Das, said the organization hopes to receive the same support as the program enjoyed in Bangalore and Hubli. The program aims to reduce both malnutrition and the school dropout rate.

ISKCON is also planning to provide mid-day meals to nearly 11,000 students in BMC-run schools. The devotees already provide mid-day meals to nine private schools in the city and wants to expand the program. The program aims to protect children from classroom hunger, thus increasing school enrollment and attendance and improving socialization among children of all castes. The program also addresses malnutrition and social empowerment through provision of employment to women. The program has a long history in Tamil Nadu and Gujarat, and has been expanded to all parts of India after a landmark direction by the Supreme Court of India on November 28, 2001.

In Thiruvananthapuram, ISKCON is putting on a program called ‘Mind, Mr Mind', aiming to provide a positive mood in response to the mounting mental stress experienced by youth today. Organised by Sarva Aishwarya dasa, the program takes students on a ‘guided tour' through unique questions, skills and discussions about the intricacies of the nature of mind and it's functioning.

In Visakhapatnam, ISKCON is beginning a new Sunday program for children at the Pandurangapuram facility. Samba Das announced that the program will service children between 6 and 14 years, who will get involved in painting, yoga, Sanskrit slokas recital, moral lessons, personality development, stories and excursions.

In West Bengal, The Bhattacharjee government's initiative to remove the urban and rural land ceiling has collapsed. The West Bengal Land Reforms amendment bill was unanimously passed in the Assembly only after deleting the controversial provision that sought to allow holding of land in excess of the ceiling. Serving the interests of local farmers, who wish to control the land, this action will make it more difficult for large investors to obtain large tracts of land for projects. The affected parties include ISKCON, the Ambanis, and the Sahara group, and others.

A senior official said, “Besides, if necessary, the government can acquire land to help and expedite the project. But the proposed Dhirubhai Ambani centre for excellence and the ISKCON expansion at Mayapur may get hit.”

In Chennai, ISKCON is conducting various programmes for children in connection with Sri Krishna Janmashtami. The Bhakta Prahlad School is offering a one-year certificate course for students to 14, teaching Bhagavad-gita slokas, mantra yoga, stories, bhajans and songs.



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