Snacks unfit for consumption given to schools in tribal areas: Maharashtra govt to HC

Snacks supplied to schools in tribal areas in four districts under a Rs 206-crore procurement scheme by the state Ministry for Women and Child Development Ministry was unfit for human consumption, Maharashtra government today told the Bombay High Court.

The Commissioner of Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS), Vinita Vaid-Singal, said this in an affidavit filed today before a division bench of Justices V M Kanade and B P Colabawala which was hearing a petition by social worker Sandeep Ahire seeking a ban on manufacture and distribution of sub-standard 'chikkis' (snacks).

"Out of the total lot of 'chikkis' supplied till July, 10 the ICDS department has received complaints from four districts - Ahmednagar, Jalgaon, Amravati and Nandurbar. In all the districts, the concerned authority was directed to confiscate the 'chikkis,' send samples for testing and ensure that they are not distributed," the affidavit said.

According to the affidavit, in Ahmednagar after tests were conducted, the 'chikkis' were found to be burnt and with sand particles in it and hence unfit for human consumption.

In Jalgaon, metal pieces were found in the chikkis and in Nandurbar there was fungal growth in the snacks and in Amravati a certain kind of oily substance was found in the chikki samples.

"On July 9, the Principal Secretary of the Women and Child Welfare department received a confidential letter from the Commissioner of FDA stating that the chikkis supplied to aanganwadis in these four districts were unfit for consumption," the affidavit said.

It added that prompt action was taken in all the matters and show cause notice issued to the company Suryakanta Mahila Audyogik Sahakari Sanstha.

The High Court has posted the petition for further hearing after four weeks. Pankaja Munde heads the Ministry for Women and Child Development.

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