Friday, July 30, 2021
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Stop cultivation of vegetables along railway tracks

Maggi noodles have been grabbing headlines for all the wrong reasons. It was being generously consumed by kids and elders alike for years! And the “quality” of this one product has created such an outrage, furore that it has been banned nationwide in just a matter of few days! But do you know there are many such products which either have heavy content of lead or even animal products like face wash, talcum product, even medicines/tablets etc? For instance, Vicks has been banned in the Western countries but back home we still glorify it-through advertisements. Less said about the Cola and Pepsi drinks, the better!

Now, I want to talk about the very common ‘Bharatiya’ product called Spinach (Keerai in Tamil).  Do you know how these leaf vegetables are grown? In Mumbai, along the Railway tracks, the cultivation of varieties of spinach is done. You will be surprised to know that these vegetables are cultivated through the water which is pumped out from sewage through an unclean big pipe. Later, spinach grows and finds a way into our markets and even the super markets too which is consumed by us. We pat ourselves for cooking and relishing items like ‘Keerai Molagoottal’, Keerai Masiyal, Keerai Sambhar and so on!). I am a novice to the technical or biological terms. But I am at least, ‘dead” sure that these vegetables do contain those materials which will lead one to “slow death”!  Even doctors have vouched for this fact.

We would like to know how the ‘cultivation’ of leafy vegetables, along the length and breadth of suburban railway tracks, happens unabated and unchecked? Who has permitted the cultivators to grow spinach along the railway tracks in Mumbai?  Have they taken permission from the Railway authorities? Secondly, does the health authority test all these products and inform the public about what it contains, under what condition these vegetables are grown, and how it is good or bad for health? Why does the government and the authorities concerned target Maggi alone? Better we are warned about the perils of “sewage water irrigation  process” ! Poisonous stuff indeed, isn’t it?

Do you think the government or the authorities concerned are unaware about these activities? And will they wake up in the aftermath of the Maggie episode? They should prohibit the cultivation of leafy vegetables along the railway tracks.

Incidentally, pesticides used in agriculture is the biggest health hazard about which we don’ t talk as enthusiastically as Maggi.  We fail to realize the adverse effect of such vegetables on our health.  What is the government doing to prevent the use of chemicals and pesticides in the agriculture industry?

Above all, I wish to highlight about the dangers of consuming roadside-eatables being sold in every nook and corner of the city. And they are not governed by any health inspection, maintenance of quality, hygiene etc. All they have to do is to bring a stool and table and start preparing eatables like bhajjis, chaat items and so on. They have to simply bribe the mobile municipal squads and other authorities for the smooth functioning of their business at all times.

High time the authorities took note of the dangerous ‘cultivation’ of this vegetable and stop growing the leafy and other vegetables in any place which are unhygienic and in ‘uncultivable’ land !

Krishna Kumar

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