New Delhi: The Delhi High Court today sought response of the Centre, AAP government, police, municipal corporations and the food safety authority on a PIL seeking enforcement of ban on use of calcium carbide to artificially ripen fruits.
A bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath said the plea contains good suggestions and issued notices to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), Delhi government, Commissioner of Police, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) as well as the north and south MCDs and sought their replies by August 10.
The petition has sought directions to the authorities “to enforce the ban on using calcium carbide which is illegally being used for ripening of fruits and leads to health hazards in the general public and to the labourers engaged in mixing the calcium carbide in the fruits”.
It has said that use of the “carcinogenic” chemical to ripen fruits was a violation of the right to life guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution and sought directions to the authorities to also “take necessary and appropriate action against the persons” who are indulging in such activities.
The petition by NGO Society Standing for All Youth Mass Awareness has contended that “calcium carbide has carcinogenic properties and is used in gas welding. Being cheap and easily available in the local markets, it is indiscriminately being used in preference to other recommended practices of inducing ripening in fruits”.
The PIL, filed through advocate Deepak Mahapatra, has also said that “ingestion of calcium carbide, popularly called ‘masala’ in the market, can affect the neurological system of a person and causes several side effects” apart from “arsenic or phosphorus poisoning”.
It has said that under food safety laws, use of calcium carbide can be prevented by strong implementation and enforcement of law.
It has also said that the fruits ripened out of calcium carbide are unsafe food as defined under the FSSA Act which prescribes punishment of imprisonment ranging from six months to life as well as penalty for use of calcium carbide