PTI | 06:05 PM,May 01,2012
New Delhi, May 1 (PTI) The Delhi High Court today directed an experts committee set up by it to frame guidelines within three months to check presence of pesticide residues in fruit and vegetables available in open market in the city. A bench of justices S K Kaul and Rajiv Shakdher also accepted a plea of pesticide manufacturers seeking a direction to the panel to allow their suggestions while framing the guidelines. The court directed the six-member committee of experts to file its report containing the guidelines by August 17. The bench also included Dr Sandhya Kulshrestha, Secretary of the Central Insecticide Board and Registration Committee, in the panel. Taking suo motu cognisance of a media report, the court had set up the committee in May 10, 2011 to periodically examine the fruits and vegetables available in the open market to check if they contain pesticide residues. Filing an affidavit before the court, the Centre had informed that the experts committee would be headed by the joint director of the Agriculture Ministry. On February 14, the Agriculture Ministry had convened a meeting of its senior officials with those of the food safety and standards authority of India (FSSAI) and the Delhi government’s health ministry on the issue, the affidavit said. Besides chairperson Sarita Bhalla, others members include FSSAI director Dhir Singh, scientist N K Sharma, Delhi government’s food analyst S M Bhardwaj, Union Agriculture Ministry official Vipin Bhatnagar and senior advocate V K Rao in the committee, it stated. The court also suggested eminent scientist M S Swaminathan as an “outside” expert for the panel. However, Swaminathan informed that his hands were full and he was stuck in too many assignments at this present juncture. As per the media report, some NGOs had conducted a survey and claimed that vegetables and fruits sold in the city’s markets contain poisons capable of causing cancer and harming the nervous system and liver.