Devbrat Patnaik

Palpable tension prevailed at the Panchayat Samiti meeting in Sambalpur’s Jujumara block when the local BDO, CDPO, and officials of several other departments were forcefully served moldy chhatua (sattu) and badam laddoo by a Samiti member.

The video of the incident that happened in the Jujumara block conference room is now viral on social media.

Samiti member Jayanta Pradhan raised concerns over supply of poor quality chhatua and badam laddoo meant for children and pregnant women. When the same food was served to officials and guests, nobody dared to consume it as it was not edible.

The Samiti member further said that allegations had been levelled against the firm preparing chhatua as the packets had no mention of packaging or expiry dates.

Putting forth his demand for supply of good quality and edible food for children and expectant mothers, Pradhan said he wanted the officials to see what these beneficiaries are forced to eat, which is why he intentionally served them chhatua and laddoo covered in mold.

Furthermore, he also demanded officials to monitor the quality of food being served and restrict the sale of such unhealthy and expired food. 

"The quality (of chhatua) was not good. This problem has been there for many days. Many people from my area brought these allegations. I took the samples with me to the block meeting. My point was if this chhatua can be provided to beneficiaries that include pregnant women and children, let the administrative officials also eat this; let the public representatives first have it. Nobody at the meeting could consume it. It was then finalized that the samples will be sent for a technical examination. My request before the government is to act strictly so that there is no compromising with the food quality. People should not die eating such food," said the Samiti member to OTV.

(Reported by Ramakanta Mahananda)