NHRC requests action taken report

India: Calcium Carbide still used to ripen fruits

The National Human Rights Commission has sought an action taken report from Health Ministry over use of Calcium Carbide to ripen fruits despite a nationwide ban. The Commission has ordered the secretary of Health and Family welfare Ministry to file a report in the matter within eight weeks time.

The directive of the Commission was in response to a petition filed by Odisha based human rights campaigner Akhand. The petitioner alleged that the traders in the country continue to use calcium carbide to ripen fruit such as mangoes, bananas, oranges and watermelon, despite the ban by the Government of India on the use of the chemical.

In India , use of calcium carbide is strictly banned as per PoFA (Prevention of Food Adultration) Act [Section 44AA], because it contain the traces of arsenic and phosphorus, which pose a serious threat to human health. Acetylene gas, a by-product of calcium carbide, creates heat. It is mainly used as a fuel and in welding, and contains toxic impurities that affect the nervous system. When acetylene is filled amidst the fruit in a box, it heats the fruit on the outside, and thus the mangoes and oranges turn yellow or orange, as the case may be.

The rules are not enforced with utmost strictness by the Government officers. So traders are fearless and use calcium carbide to ripen the fruits. There is no strict action against the abused of the banned drugs in the country, told Akhand.

Banned drugs are injurious to health. It endangers human life and can creates health hazards in the country. So NHRC has taken cognizance in the case and issued notice to Secretary, Ministry of Health and family welfare, Govt. of India for an action taken report within eight weeks, informed the Petitioner.

Source: orissadiary.com

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