Consumption of such fruits will cause health hazards, says Shankar Bhat

A few councillors of the Mangalore City Corporation on Monday expressed concern over some fruits, allegedly ripened with chemicals, being sold at the central market here.

Raising the subject during the Question Hour at the monthly meeting of the council, former Mayor M. Shankar Bhat wanted to know how mangoes were available at the market even after the season was over.

Mr. Bhat said that sale of fruits and some vegetables artificially ripened with chemicals was a serious issue and stressed the need to curb such practices.

It was a well-known fact that chemicals were being sprayed on vegetables during cultivation. People had no option but to consume such vegetables. But, consumption of artificially ripened fruits such as banana and mangoes would seriously impair people's health. Some health experts had been warning that consumption of such vegetables and fruits would lead to cancer and Alzheimer's disease, he said.

Mr. Bhat wanted to know whether food inspectors at the corporation were taking steps to check such malpractices.

While some councillors supported the subject, two councillors, Mariyamma Thomas and Appi, insisted that television channels had covered the issue extensively sometime ago and there was no need to waste much time on it now.

Commissioner of the corporation K.N. Vijayaprakash said that usage of acetylene or carbide gas to ripen banana, mangoes and other fruits and to change their colours was a crime under The Karnataka Municipal Corporations Act, 1976. In addition, under the Food Adulteration Act, 1954, persons indulging in such malpractices could be imprisoned for six months and fined up to Rs. 1,000.

Mr. Vijayaprakash said that the corporation had issued notices to 41 wholesale merchants at the central market, cautioning them against selling such fruits. The civic body had sent a proposal to the Government to set up a food testing laboratory at the corporation as there was no such facility here.

Harinath, a member, alleged that some consumers were still receiving hefty water bills. Some banks were accepting water bills only for two days in a week while some other banks had fixed a time limit for accepting water bills. Mr. Vijayaprakash said that these issues would be taken up with respective banks and arrangements would be made to accept water bills at Mangalore One centres.

Later, in an informal chat with presspersons, Mr. Vijayaprakash said that the Government had sent a circular stating that the city corporation would be given Rs. 100 crore as special grant, in addition to the Rs. 100 crore announced earlier.

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