BARPETA, June 13 - Food habits in India have drastically changed during the last 15 years, according to a study by the Indian Council for Medical Research and people at large rarely think about what they eat. This was informed by the executive director of Coalition for Food and Nutrition Security, Dr Sujeet Ranjan.
Addressing a press meet in the conference hall of the office of the Deputy Commissioner here this afternoon, Dr Ranjan stated that cases of deaths and illness related to malnutrition are being reported everyday from various nooks and corners of Assam including Guwahati and to address the problem effectively has become a challenge.
Referring to Barpeta, he informed that lack of awareness among the masses is the root cause of malnutrition and infant and maternal mortality as statistics shows that only 18% of pregnant women consume iron and folic acid necessary for a healthy pregnancy.
Narrating the importance of food, the expert in this field said that quality, quantity and composition of the consumed food have to be considered equally.
Keeping all these things in mind, the Central Government under direct supervision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has laid emphasis on ‘Right Eating’. This has been included in the Sustainable Development Goal and the agencies associated with this goal have been working round the clock to achieve it.
Addressing the media, JC Phukan, Consultant, Centre for Sustainable Development Goal informed that “No Hunger” included in the SDG as part of the celebration of the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi is the topmost priority of the government. It aims at alleviation of malnutrition, infant and maternal death and lack of food.
Phukan informed that the ‘Eat Right Mela’ which will be held here on June 14 next is aimed at mass awareness towards these vital issues. He informed that the World Bank has lent technical assistance to conduct the drive.
He also stated that the first ‘Eat Right Mela’ was organised in Delhi as a model for other states. It is aimed at spreading eat healthy, eat safe and eat fortified messages to every household of the district through collective efforts and this is the first district-level ‘Eat Right Mela’ in the country.
Deputy Commissioner of Barpeta, Munindra Sarma, who is one of the indispensable part of the organising components of the mega event also addressed the press meet. He requested all to participate in all the programmes scheduled for the day.
The Mela is being organised jointly by the district administration and Barpeta Centre of SDGs in association with Food Safety Standard Authority of India , World Bank, Network of Professionals of Food and Nutrition and the Coalition for Food and Nutrition Security. It will be inaugurated by Ranjit Kumar Dass, MLA Sarbhog at 10.30 am at the District Library here.
The said Mela will showcase the public health programmes of government of Assam and the Central government like POSHAN Abhijan, Anaemia Mukt Bharat, Ayushman Bharat Yojana and Swachh Bharat Abhijan.
To sensitise the people to build awareness on safe food and healthy diets through an interactive and informative model, various infotainment activities have been organised around three key themes of Eat Safe, Eat Healthy and Eat Fortified Foods. The message that healthy food can be fun would be communicated to people of Barpeta through this infotainment model. Several initiatives like open mike session to encourage mass participation of audience, fun, games, drawing, paintings, quiz, street play, audio visual shows, food stalls, cooking demonstration and cultural activities would be taken that day.
Apart from these, yoga and cycle rallies will be taken out in the morning. It is expected that the fair the first of its kind in the district level will benefit the people of the district a lot.