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No junk food outlets within 200 metres of schools, orders child rights panel

The State Commissions for Protection of Child Rights on Tuesday directed the Uttarakhand government to ban the sale of junk foods within 200 metre-radius of schools.

The panel asked the chief secretary to implement the order “immediately” since schools have already been opened after summer vacations.

The order will also be enforced in canteens and hostels of schools.

Seeking an “action report” from the state government, the commission also reminded the chief secretary that in the past, too, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights had written to all states to ban the sale of junk foods near schools, which fell on deaf ears in Uttarakhand.

The SCPCR directions came after   various scientific reports that claimed junk foods leads to several diseases such as obesity, cancer, diabetes and high blood pressure.

“According to information, which the commission is getting through various sources, complete ban on junk foods has not been implemented in Uttarakhand as yet, while states like Maharashtra and others have already implemented it,” observed the SCPCR in its order.

SCPCR chairperson Yogendera Khanduri said, “India has 14.4 million obese children, which is second highest in the world. China tops with 15.3 million. It is a responsibility of all the stakeholders to enforce the rule to ban junk foods in and around schools for the wellbeing of our children.”

““I am surprised to know that even students living in the hills are dying of obesity-related diseases, which is actually worrisome for all,” he added.

In 2015, a committee on consumption of junk food by school children was set up by the women and child development ministry, which too had recommended a complete ban on junk foods.

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