Nov 21, 2018-
As reports of malnutrition in the midst of affluent subsistence trickle in from different parts of the country, it is deeply astonishing that what they call poshon (nutrition) programme for children has been suspended in Burdwan, till recently the rice bowl of West Bengal. The social welfare scheme provides therapeutic food packets to children. As a report in this newspaper reveals, the pilot project, which was scheduled to be implemented with effect from September, has been discontinued for no stated reason. The ICDS (Integrated Child Development Service) is reported to have asked the district administration to keep the programme in suspended animation soon after it was inaugurated with customary fanfare in August. The sudden and unexplained suspension must seem still more astonishing as it was an attempt to correct a critical lacuna in the Food Security Act, which theoretically guarantees a minimum quota of foodgrain every week but is bereft of nutritional value. Hence the virtually endemic malnourishment, stunting, and other deleterious effects of the lack of nutrition. The scenario is distressing in East Burdwan, if the survey report prepared by the district administration is any indication. It has listed as many as 391 children, below the age of five, who were suffering from malnutrition till July 2018, with Memari block alone reporting 33 cases, followed by 28 in Jamalpur block. The facts and figures are self-explanatory. The midday meal scheme is the poorer and at the cost of the child’s health. To put it bluntly, he is entitled to know why he is being deprived of nutrition. A sample of the nutrient food has been sent to the state headquarters, but with no response thus far. Has nutrition been junked?
Published: 21-11-2018 07:12