This is with reference to the editorial ‘Government Connect’ (FE, March 26). This is an excellent initiative by the government, one that is bound to increase the connect with the masses and actually take democracy to a whole new level. With this initiative, Modi has walked his talk of digitising the government and is actually laying the groundwork for increased network penetration in the country. It has been ages since we had a PM like him, who, with his oratory skills, amply relayed to the public through Mann ki Baat (and now, through Twitter Samvaad) is rewriting history. Already the e-auctions that happened have shown the government’s seriousness to change things. However, it remains to be seen how much change happens at grassroots level.
Stop artificial ripening of fruits
The Railways has set up a Perishable Cargo Centre at Azadpur, in New Delhi, for the ripening of fruits. Fruits like bananas, pineapple, mangoes, and papaya are artificially ripened to get quick profits even before the ripening process can begin naturally. Such artificial ripening of fruits, using a chemical called calcium carbide, is very harmful for health as it can damage the kidneys and other vital organs of the body. It is very difficult for the authorities to control this menace. Bananas have been artificially ripened—near Tilak Bridge in Dadar, in small rooms—for a number of years. The white trace of the carbide powder is easily visible on such fruits. Are domestic consumers not as important as export consumers? Some time back, the European Union banned Indian mangoes because it failed to meet standards, including those on artificial ripening. The mango season is approaching but we cannot savour mangoes due to artificial ripening. In Chennai also, the municipal authorities raid shops in wholesale fruits market to catch culprits of artificial ripening of fruits. This should be done in Mumbai and other cities also. The farmers should be educated on the harmful effects of artificial ripening of fruits and also the people in the value-chain till the product reaches the ultimate consumer. People who are aware of artificial ripening of fruits have stopped eating such fruits. It is better to eat dry fruits which are not artificially ripened. And cost-wise, there is not much difference between dry fruits and mangoes.
Deendayal M Lulla