The Goa government on Wednesday announced to impose a ban on import of fish from the neighbouring states till end this month in the wake of controversy over use of formalin for preservation of fish consignments.
Addressing a press conference at state secretariat at Porvorim near the city, Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar said the decision had been taken as a measure of abundant caution.
‘The discussions about fish which have been happening for the last four-five days, in this connection without going into the details of the issue, the Goa government has arrived at a decision which is. If we stop the import of fish for 15 days, then this question will be resolved. From August 1, Goan trawlers will hit the seas to fish, there will be no need for transporting fish from far. Therefore from today, by evening there will be a government order, there will be a ban on the import of fish.’
‘This is only an abundant caution in the interest of the health of the citizens, to avoid controversies and confusion, we have taken decicion to stop import of fish from other states in the state for 15 days. So that will continue up to August 3. Meanwhile, from August 1 our trawlers will go to the sea and fresh fish catch will be available. When fresh fish catch is available, I think Goans will not eat any frozen or…,’ he said.
Stating that the decision was taken to restrict people from eating polluted fish, he said the ban would be effective for all states.
‘Ban will be effective for all states. We will post our officers and instructions will be issued at the borders not to allow fish trucks entering the state. So automatically fish which will be available will be the local fish,’ he said.
The Chief Minister said he had instructed for examining of fruits and vegetables also and given direction to have crackdown on artificial ripening of fruits using chemicals.
‘I have also instructed it for fruits and vegetables also. I will not examine. I will not allow imports itself. After 15 days, after you get fresh fish, you will not have much need for it (examination of fish). There would be no need for import, we will see at that time. If need be, we will create a machinery for it. I have given direction to crackdown on artificial ripening using chemicals,’ he said.
The decision has come a day prior to the start of the monsoon session of the state assembly.
On July 12, 2018, Goa FDA had conducted raids in wholesale fish markets in the state in which initially its staff had found presence of formaldehyde — a strong carcinogenic disinfectant used to preserve dead bodies — in fish. However, in a formal statement the agency had claimed that the levels formaldehyde were found to be in permissible limits.
This had attracted wide criticism from the opposition parties who accused the agency of making a U-turn under ‘pressure’.
However, Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar had recently said that he was personally monitoring the issue of “Formalin in Fish” and directed FDA to seize all trucks carrying such fish or any other food items including fruits and vegetables, and to punish and bring all such violators to face the law.