Editorial

Food for thought

It is alleged that the foodstuff being distributed under the auspices of UN World Food Program (WFP) in Jajarkot district are substandard. The

allegations have been substantiated by tests carried out by the Central Food Investigation Technology. These foodstuffs are being distributed to the

residents of Jajarkot, a food deficient district, which has been reeling under an epidemic of diarrhoea. Some, including INSEC, a leading human rights organization, allege that the rice and pulse being distributed are of low quality and responsible for the spread of diarrhoea. The WFP has denied these charges and also questioned the testing methodologies, but now, DEPROSC, the organisation responsible for distributing the WFP rice in Jajarkot, has decided to halt the distribution citing the debate over the quality issue. This calls for investigations to be carried out as to who was responsible for the fracas. That this involved such a prestigious world body like the WFP is something that is difficult to digest. By all accounts, there were people involved in clandestine dealings, and the foodstuff being doled out were procured through fraudulent processes, including during soliciting tenders.

This matter should not be taken lightly for by

supplying such sub standard foodstuff the WFP is playing with the lives of innocent victims of the diarrhoea epidemic. Meanwhile, despite evidences to the contrary the WFP continues to reiterate

that their food meets

the standards as required by the Nepal Government. Now that the supply of these foodstuff has been discontinued, people in Jajarkot face starvation, after the devastating diarrhoea epidemic. At a time when desperate efforts were being made to control the diarrhoea epidemic, the supply of such foodstuff has added to the sufferings and in the process added to the tragic

death toll from the disease. The WFP should take the responsibility and make amends. It goes without saying that the image of this world body has been tarnished and the confidence that had been reposed on it was ill-founded.

This is an example of various bodies of the UN not taking the problems of the developing countries

seriously. The WFP should have followed the

correct procedures while procuring the foodstuffs to feed the desperate residents of Jajarkot, and

monitored the quality as to it being fit for human consumption. The government should, therefore, now come up immediately with plans to supply urgently needed quality foodstuff to the residents

of Jajarkot. This is no simple task but a prerequisite

to feed the hungry people badly in need of food.

The claim by WFP that the food was delivered

only after tests were conducted to confirm that

they were fit for human consumption does not

hold water as already proven by tests carried out.

The samples of the substandard foodstuff could

be sent to foreign laboratories to confirm the

findings. This could expose the racketeering that

is unfortunately taking place even in world

organizations like the WFP so that such anomalies are not repeated in the future.

Overpowering display

Every year Teej marks the day of great jubilation among the majority of the women who fast

for a reason that has been handed down from

generation to generation. That the married have so much concern for their spouses comes as reassuring gesture in times when they have been able to stand on their own feet. Despite the overflowing modernism, the Nepali women at heart are among the most warm hearted—even to shower affection and devotion to the extreme beast of a husband. It sound like a paradox, but reality is queer at times. To see the women all decked in red finery brings a sense of joy to the minds of the beholders. The day was Saturday this year, and left the males wondering as to the beauty exuding from the “powerful” females wherever the eyes could cast itself.

Times may have changed. The talk of gender equality and such are the basis of heated discussions, either in the parliament or in the society in general, yet the Teej display leaves even the most chauvinistic males dumbfounded over the joyous display of women praying in favour of men. As has been oft repeated, the world is a paradise if your mind can see through your narrow-eyed set of beliefs.