Local sweetmeats stacked in pile at a shop in Jhenaidah. Photo: BP

Delwar Kabir, Jhenidah
The traditional local sweetmeats are disappearing from the rural areas at an alarming rate in Jhenaidah, leaving no way for the children to get addicted to so-called fast food day by day. The trend has posed a serious problem before the guardians.
Lack of knowledge of the guardians and leaning towards the so-called improved foods were mainly liable for the situation that has been creating health hazards, said some of the guardians and physicians.
Amal Biswas and his wife Sulata Biswas, who were buying sweets at a sweetmeat shop at Shailkupa bazar in the district, said they always try to buy local sweetmeats like Sandes, Danader, Chhanar Jilapi, Panto etc., for their family as those sweetmeats are very dear to their family members.
Another villager Rahmat Ali of Kamarkundu village in Jhenidah Sadar upazila said his favourite sweetmeats are Kodma, Batasa, Khagrai, Bonde, Sanch Khaja and Tilerkhaja. But most of the local items have been disappearing from the rural Bangladesh. T
hey said the local sweetmeats, especially Rasagolla and Pantoa, prepared from pure cardled milk or Chhana, are favourite food items to the rural people. The taste and flavour of the sweetmeats bring full satisfaction to the people.
Aged Malati Das of Jhenidah Chaklapara said they prepare a number of local sweetmeats for the near and dear ones marking religious festivals like Durga Puja, Laxmi Puja and some other social events. There was a tradition to carry sweetmeats while visiting relatives’ houses. But now a days, people carry some imported fruits, chocolate and fast foods as against the traditional ones.
Arshad Ali, an elderly people of Langalbandh area in Jhenidah-Magura bordering district said Labanga Latika was a great demand sweetmeat to the young people as it was prepared with dense cardled milk and pasted with a spice known as Labanga.
When someone touched the Labanga Latika with his tongue, felt a lucrative taste due to hot spicy taste. It was one of the fondest items to the girls. ArshadAli said.
Manrajan Adhikary, a local sweetmeat factory owner when contacted said the people have changed their food habit having lucrative food items with modern name and shape. They consume the same without considering the health of their children. The pure and safe food items produced in the rural village are free from health hazard and helps in nutrition for any one. Renowned pediatric specialist and principal of Magura Medical College Hospital Dr. Aloke Kumar Saha, when contacted said the children have been suffering from a number of diseases including stomach, oral, chest diseases, dental complications and indigestions due to intake of unhygienic foods like chocolate, chewing gum, Berger, pastry, pettish and some other fast foods.
But local and traditional food items like sweetmeats could provide nutrition for the children as well as common people.
The guardians should provide safe food for the family members and avoid the so called modern foods, Dr Aloke Kumar Saha said.