Bhubaneswar, Sep 30:
The Odisha government has initiated steps to institutionalise a quality testing mechanism to ensure nutritious and hygienic quality of the take home ration being supplied through Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) for pregnant mothers and severely malnourished children.
Presiding over a high level meeting at the State Secretariat here on Monday, chief secretary JK Mohapatra asked the Odisha University of Agriculture & Technology (OUAT) to prepare a work plan for setting up such testing facilities in Kirshi Vigyan Kendras (KVK) in the districts.
Discussions in the meeting revealed that preparation and procurement of take home ration being supplied through ICDS centres has been decentralised. In most places, women self-help groups (WSHGs) prepare these rations as per the ingredient specifications prescribed by the Women Child Development department.
It was decided at the meeting that nutrition quality, ingredient components and fungus or bacteria load of the products will be tested in the KVK laboratories. The testing would start in the 13 KVK laboratories of the undivided districts in the first phase.
The chief secretary asked the OUAT scientists to work out details on the requirement of equipment, materials, training and minimal infrastructure within two weeks. He also asked principal secretary, Agriculture Rajesh Verma to look into the process of formulation of the proposal and directed secretary, Women and Child Development Arati Ahuja to work out a programme for training and sensitizing the WSHGs involved in preparation of take home rations at the Nutrition and Home Science Colleges of OUAT.
Among others, Dean, OUAT SS Nanda, director, Public Health Dr Bikash Patnaik, Unicef representatives and senior officials of the concerned departments were present at the meeting.