Delegation of food experts had met MLA after visit to Chakulia
Ranchi, May 10: Jamshedpur East MLA Saryu Roy and social worker Balram met Jharkhand chief secretary Sukhdev Singh and Aradhana Patnaik, secretary, food supply and consumer affairs department on the distribution of fortified rice from ration shops.
During the meeting the MLA urged the official to acquaint the general public with the perceptions and misconceptions on fortified rice by calling a high level meeting of the concerned departments especially, health department, education department, social welfare department and make available for ration shops, mid-day mill, Anganwadi etc after discussing the adverse effects of fortified rice on public health.
He told the Chief Secretary that many enlightened workers active at the national level in the field of food and public health met him today at the residential office in Ranchi and discussed various aspects of the central government’s ambitious plan to reach nutrients through fortified rice.
He said that without reviewing the results of the pilot project and without informing the general public, this scheme of giving fortified rice has been started in many districts of the Jharkhand government.
In two villages of Chakulia block of East Singhbhum district, the Jharkhand government is working on the pilot project of the scheme to provide fortified rice from 2021 onwards. The Government of India is working on its pilot project in various districts of the country since 2019. He said that without analyzing the results of the pilot project at the national level or at the state level, the government has implemented this scheme in many districts of Jharkhand and also in many districts of the country. A detailed study of the ill-effects of the scheme of providing fortified rice on public health is necessary should be made.
After visiting two villages of Chakulia block, where pilot project of this scheme is going on, these people have come to the conclusion that the general public is not accepting fortified rice and question mark is being raised on the concept of removing and reaching nutrition among the public.
The beneficiaries of the pilot project areas say that during cooking, the portion of the fortified rice becomes sticky, loses its taste and comes out in the form of froth during kneading. Fortified rice is lighter and when it is put in water, the rationed rice settles to the bottom and it floats to the top. For this reason, the perception of it being plastic rice has started forming among the people.
Fortified rice cannot be eaten by people who have Thalassemia disease or people who have sickle cell (anemia). They have to eat this rice only on the advice of the doctor. It is noteworthy that a large number of people in Jharkhand are suffering from Thalassemia and Sickle Cell (Anemia). If such people are also forced to eat fortified rice, then public health will be adversely affected.There is no such system with the government to identify patients of Thalassemia and Sickle Cell (anaemia) from the tribe of fortified rice eaters.