TURA, March 28 - The Achik Youth Council (AYC) has, in a memorandum submitted to Minister of Health and Family Welfare Roshan Warjri, sought an analysis of fishes, fruits and vegetables that come into the State from outside. The NGO also sought a ban on the use of newspapers as packing due to the presence of chemical in them.
�The matter is very serious and poses a huge health hazard to general consumers of the State of Meghalaya. We, therefore, want necessary intervention against this issue with immediate effect,� said AYC president Dimseng Marak.
The NGO claimed that in most markets in the State and Tura town in particular, the imported fishes, fruits and vegetables are bought in bulk by non-resident/resident wholesalers, traders or merchants from outside Meghalaya and sold daily and weekly. �Most such food items are contaminated with harmful chemicals, which the general people of the region are unknowingly buying and consuming. These are then sold by the traders, who claim them to be fresh and organic. They take advantage of the fact that there is no check,� said AYC general secretary Shohson Sangma.
�These food items are coated or laced with formalahyde, calcium carbide and acetylene gas (carcinogenic in nature and commonly used in gas welding). These are very dangerous and cause hormonal imbalance and harm the reproductive system as has been widely reported,� added Shoshon. Alleging that these chemicals are being used indiscriminately, the NGO sought restriction of entry of such products.
�Laboratory examination and analysis from concerned officials should be made on the spot. Similarly, the Food Safety Officer under District Medical and Health Office must routinely inspect all such food items, trading of which is illegal. If found guilty, necessary legal and punitive action should be taken against them,� added Dimseng.