*Villagers from Agonda complain as plastic rice
CANACONA: It was once again the ‘plastic-rice’ fear gripped Canacona, as Public Distribution System (PDS)-Fair Price Shops (Society) were accused of distributing ‘Plastic Rice’ mixed Rice quota against their Ration Cards.
The claim however is flatly refuted by the Fair Price Shops in the taluka, stating ‘It is the Fortified Rice mixed Rice is being issued to the ration card holders as per the quota received since the month of May.
“We have even put up a display board, where it is clearly mentioned that the Rice bags are suitably added with Fortified –Rice. A 50-Kg Rice has Fortified Rice in the proportion of 49:01 (1Kg of Fortified Rice)’, informed a Fair Price Shop owner at Agonda. The fortified rice is believed to contain Vitamin B-12, Iron and Folic Acid are reportedly healthy and very suitable to defeat Anaemia in children and women.
Incidentally, some of the residents who availed their PDS supplied Rice quota for the month of July, finding suspicious approached the Fair Price Shop with their complaint that their Rice is a mixture of Plastic-Rice.
‘Not all the rice is bad or plastic, but when we prepare to cook, some of the rice that looks different than the others comes up (floats), and looks to be plastic in nature’, informed a woman. Soon, the word spread, and similar complaints/views began to appear from others as well.
A group of women then approached the Fair Price Shop, only to be informed that there is no mixture of plastic rice, but it is government promoted stock supply obtained the rice quota mixed with Fortified Rice.. The women were in no mood to hear, even as a government issued display board was shown by the FPS owner to justify his explanation.
Incidentally, while the plastic rice supply has gripped the state since the first quota began its distribution in Goa, many of the Fair Price Shops received the quota (with Fortified Rice)/ only as late July month.
Many residents are however stating the presence of fortified rice (having high nutritional value) spoils the cooked rice disrupting its appearance and taste, and are sceptical to consume fearing the mixture is highly protein and carbohydrate rich and are not a healthy choice to people over 40 years of age.
‘Fortified rice enriched with Vitamin, Iron and Folic Acid may be good to youngsters below 40 years of age, but not so healthy to older people especially to people having Hypertension, Diabetes and Cholesterol issues’, stated a known source.
Incidentally, under the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) and Pradhan Mantri Poshan Shakti Nirman (PM POSHAN), begining 4th Week of May’2023, fortified rice (containing prescribed micronutrients (Iron, Folic Acid, Vitamin B12) is being distributed through ration shops in 439 districts and other welfare schemes to address the problem of anaemia in children and women.
According to reports, government promoted Fortified Rice which is also part of diet in developed countries, believes that the scheme is important as the country’s 67 per cent children (ages 6-59 months), 57 per cent women (aged 15-49 years) and 25 per cent men (aged 15-49 years) suffer from anaemia as per the 2019-21 National Family Health Survey (NFHS).Rice was chosen as 65 per cent of the country’s population consumes rice as their staple food.