A day after the Trinamool Congress government announced a stipulated menu for midday meals to be served to children in schools, residents of a village in Bengal’s West Midnapore district discovered insects and worms crawling all over food items at an Anganwadi centre under the Centre’s Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS).
The incident happened on Saturday at Charai village, about 190 kilometres from Kolkata, in the Dantan area of the district. On Friday, the state government announced a fixed menu for midday meals, days after students of a girl’s school in Hooghly district were served only rice and salt. The incident resulted in the suspension of two teachers.
Residents of Charai alleged that they found insects and worms crawling in lentils and soybean curry cooked at the ICDS centre. Following an agitation, the district administration promised an inquiry and summoned doctors to examine the children. None of the children, however, fell ill.
“When we heard the complaint, we ordered an inquiry. Action will be taken against people responsible for such negligence,” said Dipanwita Patra, block development officer, Dantan II block. “A medical team has been sent to the area and doctors are examining the children who took the food,” she added.
The villagers alleged that inferior food was being served at the ICDS centre for the last few days. They wanted to physically examine the food on Saturday and visited the kitchen.
“Like every other day, I took my son home and collected the food from the centre so that he could be fed later. By the time I spotted the worms, my son had already eaten some curry,” said Sayani Maity, a villager.
Other villagers, who allegedly went through the same experience, gathered outside the ICDS centre and started an agitation. They demanded action against the cooks and those who supplied the raw materials.
“I cooked the food with the raw materials kept in the kitchen. I served the food as well. I don’t know where the worms came from,” said Ashima Pandit, a worker at the centre.
Aug 25, 2019 19:11 IST