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Magisterial probe likely after food safety report

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Meghalaya Games Food Fiasco

SHILLONG, Jan 17: The West Garo Hills district administration is awaiting the Food Safety Inspector’s (FSI) report on unhygienic food being served to the officials and athletes at the ongoing Meghalaya Games 2024 in Tura.
West Garo Hills Deputy Commissioner Jagdish Chelani told The Shillong Times on Wednesday that they will determine whether a magisterial inquiry is necessary after receiving the FSI report.
Chelani listed two items that have been reported by the media: the first was the food packet during the President’s Address, and the second involved using a “toilet brush” to clean the plates.
He claimed that because the markets were closed for three days due to the President’s visit, the caterer had a difficult time obtaining the food following which he had to serve those food packets.
Chelani, in the meantime, stated that they received word that a toilet brush had been used and promptly requested that the Food Safety Inspectors look into this.
“What we’ve learned is that the brush was new. It was indeed a very bad idea to clean the plates with a brush that is typically used in the lavatory,” he said.
The DC stated that they have requested that the FSI collect samples and assess the hygienic conditions of the locations where food is served.
He claims that the FSI has been conducting inspections on all of these fronts and that they have not yet made any unfavourable remarks.
In response to a question, he stated that the district administration had taken over local catering.
According to Chelani, they were taking care of it for the most part after consulting with the department of Sports and Youth Affairs.
In response to a question, the DC stated that the caterer is primarily from Shillong and has prior work experience in Garo Hills.
John Kharshiing, the working president of the Meghalaya State Olympics Association (MSOA), stated that because of the Presidential visit, they had few options for feeding the athletes.
He claimed that the President’s route was blocked both on her way to the Raj Bhavan and during her arrival at the opening ceremony.
“The road was closed for over 1.5 hours. The protocols for presidential security are extremely strict,” Kharshiing explained while adding that since this is the first time the Games have been held outside of the state capital, it is a challenge.
MSOA general secretary, Finely Pariat expressed his happiness that the food issue has now been resolved.
He claims that the district administration is managing the food catering for the first time.
Pariat remarked, “It is not easy, especially when the venues of the various events are scattered.”
According to him, the state government is investing heavily to guarantee that the Meghalaya Games are organised on par with the National Games.
“We will learn from our mistakes and do better in the future events,” the MSOA general secretary said.
Meanwhile, the poor planning of the Games continues to draw flak from various quarters.
The HNYF on Wednesday blasted the state government for its poor planning of the ongoing Meghalaya Games 2024.
HNYF general secretary, Steve Khyriem lamented that the athletes competing in the Games were made to go through such horrific experiences. He also asked the organising committee to take into consideration the concerns expressed regarding the use of a toilet brush for washing plates.
Expressing concern for the athletes’ health and well-being, he stated that those accountable should face harsh consequences. “We have asked the Food Safety department to investigate the matter thoroughly,” he added.

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