Food adulteration at all time high in Uttarakhand

Dehra Dun : A trip to the four dhams of Uttarakhand – Yamnotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath – may give one salvation or cleanse the body of the sins, but enroute to them, one could get any serious infection, courtesy the adulterated food sold along the route.

According to a survey undertaken in 2005 on the Badrinath-Kedarnath about food samples and other edibles provided in the dhabas and shops, it was found that as many as 71 per cent of them were adulterated. Hold your breath, a repeat survey taken five years later in 2010 has come up with as many as 78 per cent of the samples that are adulterated.

This is despite the fact that the state has a specialist to examine the food products and other edibles being sold, but apparently the health of the ‘aam aadmi’ is neither the concern of the health department, nor the food and civil supplies department and nor of the state government for that matter.

With the festive season just about peaking, hardly any efforts have been made by either the concerned authorities that be or the government to launch a drive of taking samples of various edibles, specially sweetmeats the sale of which goes up sky high during the Dewali.

The Society of Pollution and Environmental Conservation (SPECS) undertook a sample study of edibles and food products sold in 90 cities and hamlets of Uttarakhand. As many as 2485 samples were collected and it was found that as many as 1942 samples were adulterated, which is about 78 per cent.

It was found that of the mild samples collected, as many as 62 per cent were adulterated, 73 per cent of paneer samples were adulterated, 76 per cent sweetmeat samples were adulterated, 97 per cent of mustard oil samples were adulterated, 80 per cent of refined oil samples were adulterated, 789 per cent of coffee and 82 per cent of tea samples were adulterated, 87 per cent of tomato sauce was adulterated and 85 per cent samples of red pepper powder was adulterated.

It is not only corruption right from the top to the bottom, bureaucrat to babu, that is eating into the very health of this tiny mountain state, but adulteration has also reached an all time high, courtesy the government that does not work and an administration content in filling its coffers rather that delivering to the people.

A journalist with over 40 years of experience, Jagdish Bhatt is Editor Hill Post (Uttarakhand). Jagdish has worked with India's leading English dailies, which include Times of India, Indian Express, Pioneer and several other reputed publications. A highly acclaimed journalist, Jagdish is a recipient of many awards, latest being the 2011 Development Journalism Award. He lives in Dehra Dun.

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