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Meghalaya party writes to health minister over ‘missing’ non-veg food at govt medical institute

There were complaints that such a rule had been imposed and it was causing problems for patients and other people visiting the Shillong-based North Eastern Indira Gandhi Regional Institute of Health and Medical Sciences.

india Updated: Nov 16, 2017 18:08 IST
Utpal Parashar
Utpal Parashar
Hindustan Times, Guwahati
Guwahati,Meghalaya,Meghalaya opposition
Meghalaya Opposition Hill State People’s Democratic Party president Ardent Miller Basaiawmoit has written to Union health minister JP Nadda (in pic) against the ‘ban’ imposed by the biggest post-graduate medical institute in northeast India.(HT Photo)

The opposition Hill State People’s Democratic Party (HSPDP) in Meghalaya has raised an objection to the alleged ban on the sale of non-vegetarian food items at the Shillong-based North Eastern Indira Gandhi Regional Institute of Health and Medical Sciences (NEIGRIHMS).

“We were getting complaints that such a rule had been imposed and it was causing problems for patients and other people visiting the institute. On inquiry we found the allegations to be true,” HSPDP’s president Ardent Miller Basaiawmoit, who is also a member of Meghalaya assembly, told the Hindustan Times.

Basaiawmoit has written to Union health minister JP Nadda against the ‘ban’ imposed by the biggest post-graduate medical institute in northeast India.

“This (the alleged ban) is an attack on the food habits of the indigenous people of the northeast and has not been taken in good taste,” Miller wrote to Nadda seeking restoration of the sale of non-vegetarian food at the government-run medical institute.

Copies of the letter sent by HSPDP president to Union health minister JP Nadda. (HT Photo)

Copies of the letter sent to the Meghalaya chief minister, health minister, and director of NEIGRIHMS had an attached page that was signed by the institute’s chief on May 26 this year, where several food items and prices are listed.

Authorities at the 30-year-old institute, the first in the region built by the Union health ministry on lines of New Delhi’s All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) and Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) in Chandigarh, have refuted the allegations.

“There is no truth in the charges. No such circular banning sale of non-vegetarian food has been issued. The same items which were on the menu for years are still being sold at NEIGRIHMS,” Dr DM Thappa, director of the institute told HT.

Issuing a press release on Thursday, NEIGRIHMS stated non-vegetarian food items are served in both the canteens in the institute and admitted patients are also served such items based on advice of doctors.

The authorities admitted they had asked the operators of the coffee shop in the out-patients department (OPD) area, where pre-packed non-vegetarian foods are sold, to keep fresh items for patients and other visitors.

“There is no question of any advisory from the authorities to stop non-veg food items in the hospital as these items are necessary as a protein-rich diet for the patients,” said the release.

Consumption of non-vegetarian food is widespread in northeastern states, including Meghalaya, unlike some other parts of the country.

There was severe opposition in the Christian-dominated state to the Centre’s move earlier this year to ban the sale of cattle in animal markets for slaughter and state assembly passed a resolution against it.

With assembly elections due in Meghalaya early next year, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which is attempting to dislodge the ruling Congress government, was quick to stress that there would be no beef ban in Meghalaya..

First Published: Nov 16, 2017 12:32 IST