Activist slams politicians for trying to cover up the formalin issue
MARGAO: The wholesale fish market in Fatorda is severely polluted and is therefore not safe for trading fish. This was the message of Sanjeev Raiturkar, activist from Fatorda, who had filed a complaint before the Goa State Pollution Control Board regarding the pollution is the wholesale fish market. The GSPCB collected water samples from multiple sources in the wholesale fish market and tested them for contamination. The result of the tests is shocking.
All the samples show an extremely high amount of total coliform. Even the water collected from the fish boxes and containers have very high levels of coliform. All the samples also show the presence of the deadly E-coli bacteria along with other chemicals such as phosphate and ammonia that is toxic when consumed at the levels stated in the report.
But the toxic water is not restricted to the wholesale fish market. The samples collected from the river Sal flowing next to the market also show similar levels of coliform which according to Sanjeev Raiturkar, proves that the wholesale fish market is polluting the river Sal.
Raiturkar congratulated the Health Minister Vishvajit Rane for banning the import of fish. He said that the Minister must also ban the export of the fish that is consumed in Goa.
Raiturkar then took a dig at the TCP Minister Vijai Sardesai saying that the infighting between the Rane and Sardesai has sidelined the issue of formalin and the subsequent coverup.
“Rane is telling the wholesalers to get a license from Municipal and SGPDA but how can they get a license when the matter is before the High Court and therefore sub judice.”, he questioned. He said that on the 12 July when wholesale fish market was raided and it was revealed that formalin was found, Maulana Ibrahim interfered with the FDA raid, but the Ministers did not take any action. “On that morning, Ibrahim phoned one woman named Usha who told him that Vijai came at 2 am at night and he is asleep. Then he called one woman named Jyoti. By that time the FDA officer Iva Fernandes reached the market. Jyoti spoke to Iva on the phone and told her to stop the raid and bring the samples to the lab. How did the FDA director give instructions when she didn't have powers to interfere in the raid. Iva is the designated officer and the Director cannot release any vehicles unless the designated officer gives consent.”, said Raiturkar.
Raiturkar rebuked Rane’s argument that the spot tests were faulty. “Iva had also tested the Ice in the trucks and formalin was found. She then tested the local ice didn't detect formalin. If the test was faulty even the local ice would have detected formalin”, he said.
Raiturkar made a call to Goans fish traders that they should come forward and take control of the fish trade in Goa. “When the fish market was in Margao, Goans used to control it. Today Goans are sidelined and some are even following the mafia leader who has no respect for public health”, said Raiturkar