Shame on Maharashtra – Food for starving children sold as feed for livestock!

Mumbai is the capital of Maharashtra. It is the maximum city where Bollywood jostles with some of the richest people in the world and a robust Middle Class churns out the money. Yet not far from this city are starving children who are having food stolen from their mouths. Recently NDTV a national television channel carried out a sting operation to catch the thieves. Here is an excerpt from their stomach churning report. You decide…does India need foreign Aid…And how has foreign Aid been used in the past years?

According the Maharashtra government’s figures,  1,17,493 children have died in the last four years due to malnutrition in state. In 2011-12 alone, 21,533 children have died due to malnutrition.


Thane: It is tale of shame from Maharashtra’s Thane district. An NDTV investigation has found that nutrition supplements meant for malnourished children in anganwadis is being siphoned off by middlemen, allegedly in connivance with government officials. The supplements are then sold to poultry and dairy farms as feed for livestock.

A hidden-camera investigation uncovered this nexus in Vikramgadh taluka in Thane district. Activists say that this malpractice is not just limited to Thane but spread  across the state.  “There is no community control. It is only a systemic control which is apathetic towards the whole issue because it’s not their children who are malnourished. It is the alienation of the entire bureaucracy from the poor is another issue which is affecting all the schemes for food, whether it is PDS (public distribtion scheme) or ICDS (Integrated Child Development Services), ” said Lina Joshi, the former Director of an NGO, Apnalaya.

An NDTV team posed as potential buyers and approached middleman Yashwant Thakre. Once the NDTV team gained his confidence he showed the team empty packets of the supplements. The contents of the packets had been emptied into larger gunny bags and stored at his house. Mr Thakre told this NDTV team, “This comes from the government talukas. The supply that comes to the taluka, we get hold of with Lina Joshi who has studied the Anganwadi system said, “It is shocking in the sense that at the cost of malnourishment which Maharashtra is facing such things are going on. Let’s face it that all these years we talked about being a progressive state; we are also now very high on malnourishment status both in urban, rural and tribal areas. And I think this is something which all of us have to accept including the system; that what is happening is that the children who are malnourished are increasing in number and that needs to be strictly controlled.”

When NDTV brought this scam to the notice of the Women and Child Development minister of Maharashtra, Varsha Eknath Gaikwad, she promised action against those found guilty. “I have not yet received any complaint but since you have done a sting operation I am happy that I have come to know what is going on in Thane district and we will take action against the CDPO, the supervisor and the sevika who is working there and we will ensure this will not take place anywhere else in Maharashtra. We are tackling malnutrition in Maharashtra and we want the state to be malnutrition free. We will not tolerate these things and we will definitely take action,” she said.a little bit of adjustment. This belongs to the government. You cannot sell it outside.”


Note: In the meantime, thousands of children continue starving to death!