Mumbai: A NGO has filed a PIL in the Bombay high court, raising several issues such as alleged use of hazardous chemicals in fruits and vegetables by traders and vendors, excessive use of pesticides by farmers, death of 20 farmers in September this year due to excessive use of pesticides in the state, and use of antibiotics on hens in poultry farms. The petitioner has requested the court to direct the state government and concerned departments to frame a policy to control these problems.
NGO, Citizen Circle for Social Welfare and Education, through its president, Arshad Ali, has filed the PIL based on information gathered from news reports published from time to time. The petitioner’s lawyer, Syed ShehzadNaqvi, has claimed in the petition that the health of the public at large is at risk due to use of chemicals, pesticides, antibiotics and genetically-treated substances in fruits and vegetables and in poultry farms.
Advocate Naqvi pointed out in the petition that in October this year, due to excessive use of pesticides, 20 farmers lost their lives in Maharashtra. The petition further claimed that according to a December, 2016, news report, out of the total fruits and vegetables exported to Switzerland, 34 per cent contained pesticides beyond the standards set by the European Union (EU). It also claimed that in 2014, Saudi Arabia banned import of chilli peppers from India after tests in the country’s laboratories revealed that the vegetables contained pesticides in proportions enough to cause cancer. According to the petition, the consignment of chilli that was sent back was sold in the Indian market. Later in 2015, UAE authorities also revealed that they found pesticides beyond permissible limits in fruits and vegetables imported from India.
The petition said that the director general of health services, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Jagdish Prasad, had called for big and small fast food chains in India to stop using antibiotics in chicken and other food products.