1,200 tonnes of wheat rot in scarcity-hit Gujarat #Narendramodi #Indiashining

A bag of wheat, often used as an adjunct

A bag of wheat, often used as an adjunct (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

TNN | Aug 13, 2012, 04.35AM IST

VADODARA: Wheat enough to feed more than 5,000 people for more than a year has been left to rot at the Vadodara railway station even as the current spell of monsoon showers hit the city. The foodgrain has been allowed to turn to waste less than a week after more than half of Gujarat was declared scarcity-hit.

Some 1,200 tonnes of wheat, packed in 24,000 bags, was lying in the open at the Vadodara railway yard when a TOI team reached there on Sunday afternoon. The foodgrain had poured out of the bags and had become a free lunch for stray cattle.

The wheat sent by Food Corporation of India was to be sent to Central Warehousing Corporation (CWC’s) godown in Vadodara within 36 hours. It was meant for both poor people to be given through the public distribution system as well as for sale in the open market. It was wasted only because the contractor didn’t pick up the bags in time apparently because he didn’t have enough labour to do the job.

“This is unfortunate,” said economist and former Union minister Y K Alalgh. “Such a waste can’t be allowed in our country simply because there is a lack of coordination between various agencies, including the railways and the FCI. The guilty should be brought to book.”

Vadodara collector Vinod Rao and BJP MP Balkrishna Shukla rushed to the spot as word on the issue spread.

CWC officials, however, downplayed the issue, saying that it was a minor hitch. “The contractor was expected to pick up the entire stock from the railway yard. However, he couldn’t do so as the stock was large. Usually, the stock is not offloaded when it is raining. But when the stock was offloaded three days ago, it wasn’t raining. The contractor had moved many bags from the yard to the godown,” said CWC regional manager V K Tyagi.

“Many foodgrain bags have become wet, but we can salvage them and use them again. The lack of infrastructure in the railways, too, led to the situation. We will take action against the contractor and penalize him for the damage,” Tyagi added.

FCI regional manager N Mohan said out of 54,000 bags, 30,000 had been shifted.

A concern– India Shining Campaign

The country is shining, people’s health is declining

Tell me, what is draining my people’s health?

Is it so much poverty despite so much wealth?

They smile and inform us that our country is shining.

But everywhere I look, I see public health declining.

From ordinary ailments, so many infants dying.

To save them, are our rulers really, really, trying?

Losing their own lives, while bringing to life another

Why is it still a hazard, to become a mother?

Ranging from womb to tomb, women facing threats to life.

But for a sterilisation, they always take the wife!

Old diseases spreading, and now infections new,

Outbreaks off and on, maybe an epidemic too.

Malnutrition growing, even deaths by starvation,

Export the grain for pigs abroad, aren’t we a shining nation?

Pepsi and Coke aplenty, bottled water some can buy

But most still lack a safe well, or see their tap run dry.

In the public hospitals, no medicines or supplies.

Ask officials what’s going on, all you get is lies.

Pay at every window, stand in every line,

Quietly buy all your drugs; don’t you think that’s fine?

And if you go to the villages, things may be even worse.

No doctor in the health centre, in the subcentre no nurse.

So you suggest I go to, the private clinic next door?

Pay a hefty doctor’s fee, for tests and drugs some more?

And god forbid, if they admit me, after consultation,

Hospital bills, referrals and scans may cause my ruination.

You ask about our taxes, how public funds are spent?

Not for health, but tanks and bombs, is where our money went.

The time has come to ask, some questions loud and clear.

Why life here is so cheap, why health care is so dear.

Why rulers shrug off their duty, for citizens’ health care

Despite the highest growth rate, why state coffers look bare.

Doesn’t every Indian, rich or poor, have a right to live?

Then as a basic service, health care the state must give.

Bring the ‘public’ into public health, this is the need today.

Make the system answerable; and heed what people say.

We know this country can ensure, basic health care for all,

If rulers cannot meet basic needs, then such rulers must fall.

For now the tide is rising, people beginning to assert

Right to resources, right to food, the basic right to work.

Let’s form a broad alliance, all those facing oppression

The toiling and the marginalised, the great mass of our nation.

Let’s join ranks in our millions, and fight for a better life

To end deprivation, exploitation, and communal strife.

As one step in this struggle, now let’s begin the fight

To ensure health, and make health care a fundamental right!

by  Abhay  sukla

P.S.- Did you know ? Prathap Suthan, national creative director with Grey Worldwide (India) advertising agency. came up with the slogan in December  2003 as part of a Rs 65 crore (Rs 650 million), government-funded campaign to promote India. internationally .’India Shining‘ was originally the theme for a 60-second video made by the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government to highlight the steps it says it took to boost economic growth, slash interest rates, stabilise prices, expand road and telecom and health networks, and offer free basic education.


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