To prevent people from falling a prey to the artificially ripened fruits using calcium carbide that are poisonous in nature, the Telangana Government today sought cooperation of print and electronic to give wide coverage against their use.

Rajeshwar Tiwari, Principal Secretary, Health and Finance Secretary and Commissioner of Information Department today held a meeting exclusively with media personnel on the need for educating people against the use of ripened fruits. The Cabinet approved to appoint 28 food control officers to check the problem. The meeting assumes significance in the wake of High Court directive to the State government to take help of the media to involve it in a big way to create awareness besides taking stringent measures against the perpetrators for playing with the lives of the people through calcium carbide.

The State Government initiated measures by offering training classes to the staff, counseling to traders against the use of such fruits that prove lethal, they said. The officials asked the media to play a greater role so that the consumers should be wary of artificial fruits and pick only the original ones. Traders and vendors will attract 6 months jail and Rs 1 lakh fine on proving the case and they must display at shops that fruits being sold are original and calcium carbide was not used which will result in health hazards.

style="text-align:justify;text-indent:0.5in;background-image:initial;background-repeat:initial"> At a power-point presentation, they explained about calcium carbide use and its poisonous and ill effects. It is time for the media to play a greater role to stop its use and alert the people against the consumption of such fruits, they said. It will be of immense help for the people to keep themselves away from such ripened fruits which are poisonous, by carrying a number of stories and news items in newspapers, while scrolling and debates on television channels, the officials said.

The State Government will take stern action against the businessmen or traders, who were indulging in such shady activities, they warned. They also asked the media to shoulder their social responsibility in creating awareness among the people to choose the pure and original fruits and complain if artificially ripened fruits are found. Ethelyne Chambers built by spending Rs 60 lakh at Gaddi Annaram fruit market will be operational by March end and six more chambers will come up in private sector and agriculture sector is to set up green chambers to check the problem. They said out of 203 samples, 75 were tested for calcium carbide use and 73 samples of sweet oil were collected and cases are at various stages. They said 493 traders participated in a meeting held against the use of calcium carbide. The court will take up another hearing in this regard on March 4.

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