Crackdown on artificial fruit ripening in Hyderabad, 91 shop licenses at Kothapet cancelled
Tension prevailed at the Kothapet fruit market in Hyderabad after authorities cancelled the licences of 91 shops, stating that they were using fruits artificially ripened with carbide.
The Times of India reported that state Agriculture Minister Jupally Kirshnarao rushed to the spot after traders began protesting, and told them that they did not pay heed to multiple warnings.
"Farmers are in a hurry to sell off their produce. So, carbide is used to ripen and sell them in the fruit market.The fruits are ready to be consumed. We cannot really store them any longer," a vendor told TOI.
“We had asked them (farmers) to use ethylene for fruit ripening as use of carbide has been banned in the state. But the traders say there are not enough ethylne available for them,” M Yalliaih, secretary, Kothapet fruit market told TNIE.
Calcium Carbide, a dangerous and corrosive chemical used to make fertilizers, is known to have carcinogenic properties and cause digestive problems.
Yet, it is still widely used to ripen mangoes quickly. Farmers tend to pluck mangoes early as they need to be transported to the market.
Once it is in the market, mango traders ripen them artificially to clear their stocks sooner. Moreover, the fruits look more attractive when they are artificially ripened garnering more consumers.
The chemical is also used to ripen fruits like banana.
However, the substance may cause cancer, permanent eye damage, ulcers and even lung issues.
Moreover, artificial ripening of fruits was banned under the Food Safety and Standards Act (FSSA), 2006.
According to reports, those who do indulge in this, can be booked under IPC Sections 272, 273 (food adulteration) and 420 (cheating), which are all non-bailable sections.