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HC asks government to spell out measures

Artificial ripening of fruits

GUWAHATI, June 11: Taking cognizance of the grave consequences of ripening of fruits by the use of chemicals, the Gauhati High Court has asked both the State and the Central governments to make it clear in their respective affidavits as to what steps they are contemplating on in order to prevent the menace from going on unabated.

The issue of artificial ripening of fruits with calcium carbide has created a panicky situation in Assam, with it prompting advocate Bhaskar Baruah to file a PIL (35/2018) at the Gauhati High Court praying for directions to the Union Government and the Government of Assam to frame guidelines/policies to strictly prohibit fruit wholesalers and street vendors from subjecting fruits of any varieties to calcium carbide for artificial ripening and thus creating health hazards for consumers. The petitioner says that the use of calcium carbide for artificial ripening of fruits is prohibited under the Food Safety and Standards Prohibition and Restriction on Sales Regulations, 2011.

The fruit sellers, on the other hand, have their own some say on the issue. According to them, if they are to meet the demand of fruits in the market only with naturally ripened ones, fruits will be scarce and highly expensive commodities and neither of these two is acceptable to consumers. They say they are also not eager to ripen fruits artificially, but there is no alternative in the State. “If the government bans artificial ripening of fruits, we’re bound to abide by it. However, the demand-supply gap of fruits is going to be very wide,” a section of fruit retailers said, and added: “If the government can bridge the demand-supply gap, the situation can attain equilibrium. While catering to the market, we want to meet the demand of consumers.”

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Ankur Kalita