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Assam Government to Conduct State-Wide Testing Campaign for Pesticide Use in Vegetables


Assam Government Testing Pesticide Use in Vegetables

The Government of Assam has announced a state-wide testing campaign to address concerns regarding excessive pesticide use in vegetables and other agricultural produce. In an affidavit filed with the Gauhati High Court, the state government stated that starting from June 5, comprehensive testing will be conducted to determine pesticide levels.


To facilitate the testing process, the government has procured 200 testing kits from the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC). Regular reports will be filed during the testing phase, documenting the amount of pesticides detected in the samples.


The Gauhati High Court has also issued a special directive allowing petitioners to file complaints with the police if they possess any new information regarding the matter. The court's attention was drawn to this issue during the hearing of a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) concerning pesticide use in vegetables and its impact on the food cycle.


Previously, the court had requested the presence of the commissioner of food safety and drugs administration in Assam during the hearing. In response, the top health and family welfare department official of Assam attended the hearing, where it was revealed that the state government was in discussions with BARC to acquire equipment for testing farm produce for pesticide residues.


In February, the high court had instructed relevant departments to inspect vegetables before their importation into Guwahati. These departments, including agriculture, forensics, and health, were directed to take necessary measures to examine vegetables entering the market and being sold to consumers. The high court had set a deadline of March 3 for the submission of a detailed report.


The PIL, filed by Advocate Seema Bhuyan, highlighted the excessive contamination of pesticides and harmful substances in food products like vegetables and crops, posing risks to human health.


To address these concerns, a central task force visited Goalpara district, interacting with Agriculture Development Officers (ADOs) and holding discussions with the Alliance for Agri Innovation (AAI) and Agricultural Engineers Association (AEA). The team inspected pesticide retail dealers in various locations and engaged in awareness meetings with farmers, promoting the proper use and documentation of pesticides according to Central Insecticides Board and Registration Committee (CIBRC) norms.


By conducting the state-wide testing campaign, the Assam government aims to ensure the safety and quality of vegetables and agricultural produce, safeguarding public health and promoting responsible pesticide usage in the region.

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