Thursday, July 18, 2013


Can the ruthless politicians and arrogant bureaucrats hear the wailing of parents in Chhapra, Bihar after the latter lost their most precious possessions-their tender children? In stead of apologizing for their callousness and unconscionable guilt for not preventing an avoidable tragedy, they are bickering among themselves regarding the culprits for this ghastly man created tragedy and it is a shame on the education minister in that state to imply openly that these children were deliberately poisoned by his opponents! Where is the moral high grounds usually taken by honest administrators when inefficiency and neglect on their part cause such fatal episodes under their care?  This Blogger recently raised the most crucial question in one of his Blogs regarding the suitability of schools to cook safe and nutritious foods and highlighted the dangers posed by ill-equipped teaching shops in undertaking food cooking. (Please refer to To receive such a news within a matter of few days of publishing the above piece is shocking indeed! If the recent public debate on this issue in one of the English Channels is closely followed one can realize that such episodes occur fairly frequently with the governments least concerned about its impact on innocent children of this country being subjected to such grave risks by sending to killer schools like the one in Chhapra. Here is a take on the Chhapra episode.  

"21 children have died as a result of the free lunch they were served in that school yesterday.  Officials say it appears that the meal of lentils, vegetables and rice was contaminated with insecticides; a forensic report is due later this evening. Another 30 children remain ill in hospital in Chhapra, some of them lying listless on stretchers, intravenous drips attached to their tiny arms. "My children had gone to school to study. They came back home crying, and said it hurts," one distraught father told NDTV.  "I took them into my arms, but they kept crying, saying their stomach hurt very badly." As weeping parents mourned, political parties delivered stunning responses.The ruling Janata Dal United said it is being targeted  by "a deep-rooted conspiracy." Spokesperson KC Tyagi said, " The way the opposition of Bihar is responding, I feel that it is a big conspiracy. They want to destabilise the Bihar Government."  he BJP, which was booted out last month from a 17-year partnership with the Janata Dal United, backed some locals who said that  officials took too long to organise ambulances for children after they fell violently ill at school. It took 15 hours to evacuate the children. This is criminal negligence and the state government is responsible for this," said Rajiv Pratap Rudy of the BJP".

The sum and substance of the stand taken by this Blogger was that most schools are ill-equipped in terms of facilities, spare time and skilled personnel required to cook decent foods and therefore there must be a rethinking on the present policy of the government to serve "hot foods" which carries with it grave risks to the lives of tender children being sent by their parents to receive basic education. Packed foods manufactured by established food processing industrial units, standardized to contain the optimum levels of essential nutrients, are far more preferable though there could be an element of monotony in terms of taste factors. But this is not a problem which cannot be solved provided reputed food research agencies and nutrition experts join hands to evolve a basket of products with impeccable credentials which can be prepared in the schools with minimum risks before feeding the children. One of the Parliamentary Committees  of the very same government recommended packed foods three months ago which was irresponsibly ignored! Is there some substance in the argument that politicians of all hues and colors are least interested in the well being of children going to government schools because their own children go to fancy schools paying enormous fees for their education? It is for people to brood over such an allegation and act appropriately during the election time!    


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