Tinsukia: In a bid to expose the poor quality of midday meals served in government schools, a youth from Dibrugarh took to Facebook Live to show the deplorable condition of food served to students.
The development comes on the heels of a widespread protest across the state against the government’s decision to hand over the midday meal to centralised kitchens run by NGOs from November 1.
In the live video, the youth — identified as Tapan Gogoi — went to Paltan Bazar ME School in Assam’s Dibrugarh district and showed the food of the day, khichri, and spoke to students about it.
The food tastes sour, a girl student said on the camera after taking a bite.
“Gundhaise pura (it smells),” another student echoed. Gogoi then questioned: “Will you be able to eat this food?” To this, the student replied: “How can we eat this? It smells.”
In the video, Gogoi is then seen going ahead asking a woman at the gate of a room (kitchen or the place where food is stored): “What about food to other students? Haven’t they been served?” To this, she promptly replied that they are not ready to eat saying the food smells.
The live video, a random shoot initially showing several students gathering, may be during break time, with few of them having plates in hand, and later having conversations with students and school staff and teachers. It “exposes” the quality of food provided to students through a key government initiative, the midday meal scheme.
Gogoi requests the woman to show the food that has been provided after which she shows it by lifting it from a container. “Khichri rong heyujia hoi aase (the colour of khichri is green),” someone is heard saying in the background.
He then enquires what else has been given besides khichri. To this, the woman replies: “Only khichri has been provided. No dal.”
The youth then takes his live video to a gentleman, addressing him as Sir. He asks, “You have been hearing about the food provided by the NGO. As a member from the management of the school, what do you have to say?”
“Till this time, I had been hearing that the food given for students was of bad quality. Today, I tasted it myself and found the quality to be bad. It was smelling. Oti beya bastu… Hekini jodi aamar horu lora swali khaye, lora swali bemar hobo paare (very bad food… if this food is consumed by little boys and girls, they might fall ill),” the gentleman responded.
According to the Facebook profile of Tapan Gogoi, he hails from Dibrugarh and currently resides in Guwahati. He is an alumnus of Cotton College in Guwahati and is the managing director of Apsara Management.