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Thursday, Dec 01, 2022

Row over Bihar Women Development Corporation MD’s reply to girl’s query

The senior IAS officer snubbed a girl student when she asked why the government didn't provide them sanitary pads.

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Bihar’s Women Development Corporation (WDC) Managing Director Harjot Kaur Bamhrah came under criticism over the manner she handled questions from girl students during a workshop — Sashakt Beti, Samriddh Bihar — organised jointly by the Unicef and state government in Patna on Tuesday.

The senior IAS officer snubbed a girl student when she asked why the government didn’t provide them sanitary pads. “They (students) will demand jeans, good shoes and finally contraceptives for family planning” was Bamhrah’s response to the girl. When the girl argued that the government was duty-bound to give them certain facilities as politicians seek votes, the IAS officer quipped: “Mat do tum vote, sarkar tumhari hai. Ban jao Pakistan (do not vote, its your government. Become Pakistan). Do you vote in lieu of money or amenities?”

The WDC comes under the Social Welfare Department of the state government and is the nodal agency for implementing welfare schemes for women.

During the workshop, a student asked: “When the government has been doing so many things for us, including giving us uniforms and scholarships, why cannot it give sanitary pads, which would cost only Rs 20-30?”

As the audience appreciated the question with clapping, Bamhrah replied: “Those clapping should know that there is no end to such demands. The question is if the government gives sanitary pads…there will be demand for jeans…shoes tomorrow, and finally, there could be demand for free contraceptives for family planning.”

The IAS officer said one shouldn’t be demanding everything from the government. “The government has been giving so many things…expecting everything from the government is wrong,” she said.

Bihar Teachers Eligibility Test Sangh president Amit Vikram said: “The WDC MD did not try to understand the question of the girl. She had been perhaps asking for availability of sanitary pads in schools. Though the government gives Rs 300 to every girl student from Class 6 to 12, most of them do not carry sanitary pads to schools. The IAS officer should have answered differently, but she ended up insulting the student.”

BJP spokesperson Santosh Pathak said: “The way the bureaucrat spoke to the girl defeated the very purpose of the workshop. It was very irresponsible and insensitive on part of the WDC MD to speak in the manner she did. And there was no need to make Pakistan reference at all.”

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While the bureaucrat was not available for comment, Social Welfare Minister Madan Sahani said: “Our department works for welfare of girls and women. She should not have discouraged the girls. The workshop was meant to encourage them. Our department secretary will speak to the MD on Thursday.”

 

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First published on: 29-09-2022 at 03:03:08 am
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