Even as it faces flak for not taking to task a minister who spent lakhs on a wedding banquet, the state government has issued a directive asking for the prevention of food wastage in weddings and other public functions in the drought-hit state. The food and civil supplies department issued the directive about a week ago to district collectors and heads of different state government departments, asking all workers to avoid wastage during marriages, public and private functions.
The state directive cites increasing food grain prices, food scarcity and overall inflation as the reasons to avoid wastage. The directive also asks state departments to avoid food wastage during government functions. According to a government official, the state directive is based on a similar directive issued by the Union Ministry of Food and Consumer Affairs.
Besides general suggestions, it also urges collectors and officers to ensure that social awareness campaigns are undertaken at schools and colleges, where students are encouraged to avoid wastage to achieve better results in future. The state directive also speaks about the financial provision made by the union government for the inclusion of such programmes in primary, secondary and higher secondary schools. The food and civil supplies department has sought an action-taken report on the issue.
It also says that NGOs should be roped in to distribute left over food among the poor and needy. Efforts to contact Food and Civil Supplies Minister Anil Deshmukh failed, as he was busy in meetings at Nagpur. The state directive is significant in the wake of Income Tax department survey at Chiplun and Sangli where lavish weddings have taken place recently. At Chiplun, around 60,000 people were fed at the wedding and reception of Minister of State for Urban Development Bhaskar Jadhav’s children. At Sangli, 23,000 people graced the wedding ceremony of Mayor Idrees Naikawadi’s son.
The I-T department later questioned the caterers who served food at both the weddings. A caterer who served food at Chiplun is said to have employed 400 plus people to prepare and serve it. The caterer too was visited by I-T sleuths at his Aurangabad office and warehouse.