GUWAHATI: The Gauhati high court has asked the Centre to frame appropriate rules for regulating the open availability of calcium carbide in the market.
The high court order came in response to a PIL filed by one advocate Bhaskar Baruah which sought the court’s raising concern about artificial ripening of fruits like banana, papaya, mango, etc by the artificial process of using a chemical substance calcium carbide illegally.
The petitioner said that due to the unabated use of calcium carbide in fruits, various chronic diseases like abdominal problems, skin diseases, cancer etc. have been growing in society. The easy availability of calcium carbide, a highly toxic and highly inflammable substance in the open market of Assam, in an unregulated manner has worsened the situation, said Baruah.
The PIL alleged that due to the availability of the chemical and its rampant use on fruits, consumers in the state have been deprived of healthy fruits leading to serious health issues.
The PIL demanded strict enforcement of the law by the Central and state government under the Food Safety Act, 2006 and framing of appropriate guidelines or policy to enforce strict prohibition or ban on the loose sale of calcium carbide in the open market of Guwahati and other districts of Assam.
The GHC in its order said, “We require the Central government to frame appropriate rules for regulating the open availability of calcium carbide in the market and for the purpose the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) and ministry of petroleum and natural gas may coordinate amongst themselves for achieving the purpose of framing the required rules.”
“The principal secretary to the government of Assam in the health and family welfare department is also directed to monitor the activities of senior food safety officers towards their requirement of complying with the order,” the order added.