Sunday, June 23, 2024
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Govt refutes substandard food allegations

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By Our Reporter

SHILLONG: The Social Welfare Department on Tuesday refuted the allegations leveled against it on the supply of substandard and unhealthy food to children under the Supplementary Nutrition Programme (SNP).

While taking serious note of the allegations, Secretary, Social Welfare, T Dkhar said that the department shall initiate steps to conduct nutrient analysis test in reputed laboratories to confirm the veracity of the same.

It may be mentioned that Tarun Bhartiya, the Shillong-based Advisor to the office of the Commissioners of the Supreme Court in the Right to Food case, had alleged that substandard and unhealthy food was being supplied to children under the Supplementary Nutrition Programme (SNP) of the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) through Anganwadi centres at the cost of Rs 24 crore for the last two years in blatant violation of Supreme Court orders.

Dkhar stated that the department, on the guidelines and directions of the Supreme Court, has procured choco malt and milk powder directly from the manufacturer-M/S Continental Milkose (India) Ltd so that there is no violation of the order of the Supreme Court. These food items are not readily available in the market and can only be obtained from manufacturers, Dkhar said adding that the department introduced fortified food items such as milk powder, malted milk food, biscuits and ready-to-eat noodles as non-conventional food items distributed under the SNP on the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Women & Child Development, Government of India by engaging self help groups throughout the State for greater participation by the village communities on buying of grains and preparation of meals.

Dkhar also informed that the department has been sending samples for nutrient analysis at regular intervals to the Food and Nutrition Board laboratory in Kolkata, which is approved by the Government, to ensure that the quality of food items supplied under SNP meet the required standards. “So far the reports of the analysis have not indicated that the food supplied under SNP are substandard or unhealthy,” he added.

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