La Tomatina gets rotten tomatoes

Waste fest

La Tomatina gets rotten tomatoes

A file picture of last year's La Tomatina in Spain. Courtesy: Wikipedia

Taking note of the widespread and strong disapproval of the plans to replicate the La Tomatina festival in Bangalore, Chief Minister D V Sad­ananda Gowda has annou­nced a ban on it which was scheduled for September 18.

People who argued against such a festival in the City,  pointed out the incongruity of such a festival in a country which hosts 25 per cent of the world’s hungry and has 43 percent of its children aged below five suffer from malnutrition, and whose culture discourages wastage of food. Not to mention the ongoing food inflation woes.

Lakshmaiah, a tomato gr­ower from Kolar, who led a farmers’ delegation that met Sadananda Gowda on Friday, said: “Such activities in a co­untry whose farmers commit suicide, knowing very well th­ey are unable to grow en­ough for their country is unacceptable.”

Another farmer, Krishna Reddy, said it was “insulting” to find out that food could be wasted through such activity. “We get water from as deep as 1,200-ft to grow tomatoes and we definitely do not grow it to be thrown at each other,” he lamented. The opposition for the attempted festival planned to be at Palace Grounds here and also in Mysore, garnered support from NGOs, environmentalists and thousands of concerned citizens both online and off it. M K Shridharan, a Trustee of Education Informal, in a letter to Gowda has pointed out: “...A tomato festival could be designed to ens­ure tomatoes reach to those who are suffering from hu­nger and undernourishment.”

The chief minister, who ordered cancellation of La Tomatina, has directed the Police Commissioners of Bangalore and Mysore to take appr­opriate steps to effect the ban. The opposing groups pointed out that as many as 5,000 people were expected to participate in this fest, wh­ich wo­uld mean, even if unde­res­ti­mated, waste of nearly 60,­000 kg of tomatoes.

They also ridiculed the notion of mimicking a ‘festival’ that originated as a rivalry between groups in 1945.

Rajesh Padmar, Director of  Namaste India, said: “There are farmers who grow 40 to 50 tonnes of tomato per acre in the district and wastage to this extent means a ‘loss’ of an estimated Rs 64 lakh.”  Aks­hey Kalra, who initiated the online campaign that got over 8,000 supporters on Faceb­ook and another 3,000 to sign on the petition form that was sent to the Police Commissioner’s office and the CM’s office, said he had initiated the campaign because he was a “conscious” individual.

“...And I was glad that the authorities treated us so well when we took the matter up with them. Mr Suneel Kumar, Additional Commissioner had assured us that he would look into the matter. It is good news that the chief minister has banned it.”

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