Foreign trip to learn cooking Khichuri abroad
As the government keeps reeling from back-to-back cases of corruption, mismanagement and irregularity - a number of government officials' recently proposed a foreign trip to learn how to cook 'khichuri' for our primary students. Initially, the proposal considered sending 500 officials, but now two teams consisting of 20 to 30 or 7 to 14 people have been advised for the proposed trip. However, the proposal hasn't been finalized and the Planning Commission has asked officials to cancel the foreign trip on how to cook 'khichuri'.
Whether the trip will take place or not only time will tell, but two aspects surrounding the trip has caught our attention. First, a State Minister's immediate fuming response to the media coverage of the issue, and second the rationale and motivation behind such brainless proposal.
The State Minister for Primary and Mass Education has not only defended and justified the proposed trip, but branded the journalists to have criticized on the foreign trip as 'BNP-Jamaat men in journalism attempting to embarrass the government by presenting different negative news'.
This is no short of a cruel joke erupting in the midst of a global pandemic. And it is also time to question the government officials involved in preparing the proposal - how can they afford to spend their valuable time, energy and resources for preparing such an idiotic project?
Acquiring knowledge on food management for school children is definitely important to successfully run the government's midday meal programme, but the proposed foreign trip is not. And the knowledge can be easily gained through virtual video conferencing between authorities concerned of the two countries. Additionally, there are plenty of recipes and cookbooks available locally for cooking delicious and nutritious Khichuri at the cheapest rate. It is a widely consumed local cuisine, not a foreign dish either.
The point in case, in today's world one doesn't need to travel to Rome to learn about the rise and fall of the Roman Empire. That said - our government officials seem to be living in the world of privileges and luxuries attained through the ordinary taxpayers' hard earned money. Our government officials' corrupt mindset to squander public money under the banner of 'knowledge acquiring foreign trips' must change immediately. With or without the pandemic, enough public money has been wasted for irrational and ostentatious state-sponsored foreign trips.
At the same time, we expect our politicians and policy makers to stop shooting from the hip while responding to media reports. Since the state minister has firsthand experience on food management gathered in India's Kerala State, it is high time he puts it to practice at home. Lastly, the honourable minister must refrain from vilifying journalists by creating imaginative political divisions. We mark his justifications for the proposed 'Khichuri trip' and the attack on journalists as baseless and highly reactive.