80 per cent of food stuff adulterated in Uttarakhand

Dehra Dun: In Uttarakhand where there seems to be zero governance, every one is having a ball at the cost of the aam aadmi. From the highest echelons of power to the lowest, the focus seems to be on how to make a quick buck, without an iota of thought to improving the lot of the people. And even the traders are having a field day as almost all the edibles are adulterated and it does not seem to bother the concerned authorities.

An NGO, Society of Pollution and Environmental Conservation Scientists took 255 samples of edibles from various shops in Dhamawala, Hathi Barkla, Dharampur, Hanuman Chowk, Ajabpur, Karanpur, Krishna Nagar, Panditwari, Doon Vihar, Premnagar, Rajpur, Raipur and D L Road localities of the city. And of these as many as 205, that is 80 per cent were found to be adulterated. Obviously with concerned authorities not taking samples, the traders are making the most of it.

It may be sound ridiculous, out of Ripley’s Believe it or Not, but 100 per cent of the mustard oil samples were found adulterated with argemone oil, mobil oil and metanil yellow. And likewise 100 per cent of the roli samples were also found adulterated with lead arsenic and chromate. Imagine cooking food in mobil oil, but that is where things have gone to in Uttarakhand also called Land of the Gods (sic).

Of the honey samples that were taken as many as 90 per cent were adulterated, thankfully only with honey and not something that kills or is carcinogenic. Even 90 per cent of the turmeric (that is used by all households for cooking) samples that were taken were found to be adulterated with metanil yellow, lead chromate and rice flour.

The milk that people drink in this small mountain state is 84 per cent chemical milk as the samples were found to be adulterated with soda, dry milk powder, refined oil, urea and formline, whereas 80 per cent of the ‘mawa’ was adulterated with dry milk, refined oil and Dalda. Even 80 per cent of the ‘burfi’, milk cake and ‘gulab jaumn’ was adulterated with refined oil, wheat flour and dry milk.

Even 80 per cent of the red chilly samples that had been taken were found to be adulterated with geru, rhodamin-B, Sudan-III and old and low grade chilly, while 80 per cent of the pure ghee samples was nothing but Dalda and essence, while 80 per cent of the ‘ladoo’ and ‘sonpapdi’ samples contained metanil yellow and 70 (thankfully) per cent of the ‘paneer’ samples was adulterated dry milk and refined oil.

Hold your breath, 70 per cent of the ‘dhania’ (coriander) samples had been adulterated with of all the things, saw dust. Incidentally, the NGO had also undertaken a survey of the dhabas along the route to Badrinath, Kedarnath, Yamunotri and Gangotri and the samples indicated that the food at these places was highly adulterated, enough to make one fall sick.

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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