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Food items for students selling in Laghman market

Food items for students selling in Laghman market

Dec 24, 2011 - 17:05

MEHTARLAM (PANinfo-icon): Cookies and cooking oil donated to students by the governments of Japan and the United States are selling in markets of eastern Laghman province, officials said on Saturday.

The food items were provided by the Japanese government to the Worldinfo-icon Food Programme (WFP) for distribution to students through the provincial educationinfo-icon department.

Although the biscuit packets carry the message "this gift is not for sale", shops in the provincial capital, Mehtarlam, are full of such cookies. The US-donated ghee in plastic bags and tins is also up for sale, not only in local markets, but also in districts.

A policeman on duty at the Tergary post, Zabit Nangyalay, said they seized 700 tins of ghee from a vehicle a few days back. The donation was being smuggled to neighbouring Nangarhar province.

Deputy Education Director Muhammad Karim Rahimi confirmed the donated items were being sold in markets. He said police had been asked to help stop the smuggling of the items, but they did not cooperate.  

However, Rahimi was unable to answer the query how the items reached markets after being handed over to his department for distribution to students. He said they had provided biscuits to students for six months, with each student receiving 26 packets. He said the ghee was distributed to girl students.

Qari Hashmat, a shopkeeper in the city, told Pajhwok Afghan News he had bought the biscuits from students for five rupees per packet against its original rate of 10 rupees. He added he knew the sale of the biscuits was prohibited, but no official had so far warned him.

A teacher at the Shaheed Dr. Abdullah Laghmani School said they distributed biscuits to students every month. Every student is given 26 packets. However, he was surprised how complete cartons of biscuits found their way to the market.

A sixth grader, Faulad, said he took the biscuits home and did not sell them. But Mubaina, a 7th class student at the Masturi High School, acknowledged selling to shopkeepers 22 packets of biscuits that she did not like.

Laghman police chief, Brig. Gen. Abdur Rehman Sarjang, said he had ordered the officials concerned to seize the items.

WFP provincial head, Maranai Niazi, asked the governor to ensure transparent distribution of the donated items to students. He said they also wanted to know how the cookies and ghee reached markets.



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