For the past week, everyday we are hearing and reading in the news about serving eggs as a part of midday meals in government schools (Bisi Oota). While some are supporting the serving of eggs, some are opposing the same saying that it should be Milk or Banana. Children are most sensitive and susceptible to the environment. A food product, which is palatable to everyone should be introduced.
If you go into this controversial subject (which has hurt the sentiments of some people), you can see religious heads and politicians, famous individuals and common man alike airing their views. And the matter is not resolved yet.
It is a typical case where we can see how our government works. When there are enough problems on hand to be solved, why should these ministers indulge in raking up such non-issues which can not be resolved to everyone’s satisfaction? When wholesome vegetarian fare is being served to our children why add eggs to the menu? The idea of serving eggs may be from politicians with a sinister design of improving poultry business.
Not long ago, Avian influenza struck India. India’s poultry industry braced for massive losses after the detection of the deadly H5N1 bird flu strain. Chicken and eggs were off the menu in most restaurants. Infections of humans, mostly through contact with infected poultry, resulted in symptoms typical of common human influenza — fever, cough, sore throat, and muscle aches — to eye infections, pneumonia, severe respiratory diseases and other life-threatening complications. Commonsense tells us that when serving food for a mass of people, one needs to serve food that can be eaten by one and all.
The other day, I was hearing an interesting take on this topic by half a dozen students. After much discussion they finally agreed that as there are students from all walks of life it was not correct to serve eggs in the Bisi Oota Programme. They felt it was easier for a person to abstain from eating eggs than forcibly eating them. Another felt that some kids in whose homes eggs were prohibited might be tempted when his/ her friends was served one. In another situation, children who did not eat eggs would find it difficult to have their lunch with students who preferred eggs. A young chap opined serving bananas instead of eggs helped maintain uniformity when it came to serving food just like school uniforms that helped maintain uniformity when it came to wearing dresses. Another noted that in any social gathering, the food provided was vegetarian so that everyone could have it.
It was really nice to hear their conversation from the budding citizens. When youngsters can understand and analyze an issue so well, why can’t the elders, especially the politicians and concerned authorities think likewise? Maybe the issue will be resolved only when students will go and stand in the hot sun carrying placards on MG Road or near Cubbon Park making human chain. It is really a pity the government machinery is wasting a lot of time on such non-issues.
In case eggs ARE introduced in the mid day meal, there is another side to it. Officials might cook up their own numbers (of eggs served) and might give room for malpractices thus allowing funds to dwindle. And imagine the plight of the person/s trying to verify into the (possible) ‘Poultry Scam’! Officials might have to go to each school and each student and ask: Motte thinthya? (Do you eat eggs?) And some naughty fellows might just want to play a prank. The report will be flawed…. I shudder to think further because it will all be yet another case of the taxpayer’s money flowing down the drain.
A related article appeared in ‘Prajavani’.
(Additional inputs from RK)