In India we rarely hear stories about officers who make a mark and who become the darling of masses . We have very few TN Seshans, KPS Gills or Kiran Bedi . This is the story about one such officer from Kerala who really made a difference in the post she was allotted. This is the story of TV Anupama who stood fourth in the UPSC exam held in 2009 .
She with her grit and honest proved the gender is not a matter when it comes to competence and if used well there are enough laws to curb the menace of corruption in this country. This story is so motivating that it is worth to be told again and again.
This is about what Anupama did when she was the Food Safety Commissioner in Kerala. She did the unthinkable in Kerala by banning foods of giant food processing companies , by conducting multiple raids in different locations simultaneously.In Just 15 months Anupama produced over 6,000 adulterated food samples before the court and has initiated 750 cases against the traders who were found guilty of food adulteration. This earned her quite a reputation in the IAS community and moreover she became the hero of the common people of Kerala.
Anupama found that many of the processed food contained very high levels of pesticides which were very harmful for humans. What made her crusade even more note-worthy is that she also pioneered and championed the cause of Organic farming which the Kerala Govt and common people took to their heart.
She also took the food adulteration mafia head on by banning the products of famous spices brands in Kerala which was unheard of in this land. She found that the chilly , coriander and turmeric powders sold by this brand was adulterated with cheap starch powder among other adulterants .
She inspired people to cultivate their own vegetables in their backyard and initiated a campaign for the same. The campaign was wholeheartedly welcomed by the locals and even the state government. This initiative was taken up by political parties , religious outfits , self help groups , women empowerment groups and many others . This really made a difference to what Kerala ate. Kerala which is primarily a consumer state and had about 70% of its vegetables imported from neighbouring states turned the tables and had 70% of the vegetables produced in Kerala itself.
Since she is from the new generation she also used social media heavily to take her message to the masses which brought the new generation also to support the crusade.
But the powerful food mafia didn’t sit idle. Without giving any explanation Anupama was removed from the post which she was bringing in great changes and was moved to social justice department . This shows that the bureaucrats are still only mere puppets in the hands of the political class who often don’t have the vision as to what should be done how the country/state has to progress.
In a country like India, where corruption, theft, and adulteration are at their peak we need not one, but many courageous and honest officers like Anupama in different sectors. We know that an officer like Anupama cannot be silenced just by moving her in to another department. We are sure she will continue her stellar work there too and bring about a change in the life of common people like us there too. Also we hope that Anupama prove to be a pioneer in the area of food safety directors and will bring about a change like TN Seshan did in Election Commision.