RAWALPINDI - The lives of citizens especially nomads’ children are in a great danger owing to improper dumping of expired instant drinks and other packed food items in various localities of Potohar Town.
A large number of illiterate people in general while garbage collector and nomads’ children in particular sift the heaps of garbage and bring these “hazardous” and expired food items to their home to eat with their other family members, thus putting their lives at risk.
Unfortunately, the City District Government Rawalpindi (CDGR) big wheels including District Coordination Officer (DCO) Saqib Zafar, Administrator Potohar Town/Assistant District Collector (ADC) Revenue Rawalpindi Talat Mehmood Gondal and officials of District Health Department are in hibernation and not taking any action against the “death distributors” who have set up their small factories in all nook and corner of the city and preparing substandard edibles.
Later, these items are supplied to markets at throwaway prices while shopkeepers sale them out to innocent children.
The sanitary workers of TMA Potohar Town are also not paying heed towards the regular exercise of dumping of expired food items at the site.
During a visit to a nullah located on Kalyal-Dhamial Road, on Tuesday, TheNation found so many children (nomads) collecting the packs of an expired instant health drink “Segar Sari-Orange” disposed of numbering in thousands openly there by some unknown dealers.
The manufacturing date on the sashes, prepared by PT.KINOSENTRA INDUSTRINDO, Semarang 50118-Indonesia, was 15/5/2003 while the expiry date was 15/11/2004 and these were best consumed before 8 years from the date of manufacturing.
According to a nomad Nehmat Khan, 16, resident of Ashraf Colony, who was filling his sack with these expired sashes of soft drinks happily, told this scribe that he too brought a number of packets to his home and presented his four-year-old brother Khuda Dad, who mixed it in water and drunk in minutes. He said that he got information that his brother started vomiting soon after having the drink and was brought to a local hospital for medical treatment. “I am illiterate and do not know that these sashes can be dangerous for health,” he said.
Ziarat Gull, another nomad belonging to Khatana village, was of view that he has not money for buying food for him and his family. “I daily come here to get food items for my family. Packs of milks, toffees, chips, nimko, chocolates and many other edible items I find free of cost here daily. I am very happy that I do not pay a penny for these food items,” he added.
Administrator Potohar Town/Assistant District Collector (ADC) Revenue Rawalpindi Talat Mehmood Gondal, when this scribe visited his office to get his point of view, was not present. Later, Talat also did not receive his mobile phone call. District Officer (DO) Health Dr Khalid Randhawa was also not available for his comments on the issue.
A large number of citizens, interviewed by the scribe, expressed their deep concern over the poor performance of TMA Potohar Town and District Health Department. They said that improper dumping of expired health drinks playing havoc with the lives of small children of nomads and even some illiterate adults. They said that a number of spoiled meat, rice, poultry, chips, nimko and expired or canned food were found dumped in various areas of Potohar Town.
“If security is a priority, then the citizens’ health and their right to eat safe food is sacred,” said Irshad Janjua, a university student, said adding that judiciary authorities should exert efforts to implement stricter food safety measures.