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Milk boost for underfed kids

- Pilot project to distribute 200ml to children in Nadia
MILK TO COME NEXT

Krishnagar, Dec. 31: The Nadia district administration has decided to distribute milk among undernourished children at ICDS centres.

The pilot project, conceived by district magistrate Abhinav Chandra, will be started in two panchayat areas in mid-January. Each of the 1,086 children, identified as malnourished by the ICDS in a survey last month, will be given 200ml of milk — about a glassful.

“This is a New Year gift for the children from the district administration. We wish them good health,” Chandra said.

“Initially, we will give milk twice a week. We will increase the rate gradually. Our plan is to give milk to all children enrolled under the ICDS (the Integrated Child Development Scheme),” he added.

The project would start in 13 villages under Ruipukur and Bhatjungla gram panchayats in Krishnagar block-I.

District officials said the decision was taken after the chief medical officer of health, Nadia, examined the reports of the 1,086 undernourished children, aged between three and five years.

Teams of ICDS workers had conducted the survey, collecting information like height, weight, records of disease and the quality of food in each household.

“From about 2,000 children in this age group, we identified 1,086 as undernourished,” a district health official said.

The official added that nearly 220 litres of milk would be required initially for the children in the two panchayat areas.

“The milk will be supplied in 200ml pouches and it will be purchased from Kisan Cooperative Milk Union in Krishnagar,” the official said.

Utsab Chatterjee, the managing director of the milk cooperative, said the firm would have no problem in supplying milk to the ICDS centres.

“We will have no problem supplying the milk to the district administration for the pilot project. District officials have discussed the project with us. We have assured them we will supply pasteurised milk in pouches,” Chatterjee said.

The cooperative collects about 38,000 litres of milk every day from traders in Nadia.

Chatterjee said the administration should directly purchase milk from the cooperative.

“Direct purchase is always helpful because there is no additional establishment cost. If we supply milk outside Nadia, there is a lot of wastage and detention. But if we supply to nearby places in Nadia, wastage would be taken care of,” he added.

Farmer Raju Durlabh of Paschim Durlabhpara in Bhatjangla, whose four-year-old son has been identified as undernourished in the survey, said: “I work in the fields and earn about Rs 1,500 a month. This is not enough to feed him and my seven-year-old daughter. I am looking forward to the administration’s move to give such children milk,” Durlabh said.

Bhatjangla panchayat chief Kamal Ghosh said malnutrition was a common feature in the village.

“A large number of people who live in this panchayat area are under the BPL category. They are not in a position to provide nutritional food to their children. Malnutrition is a common feature here.”