After initial warnings to the traders and merchants against artificial ripening of fruits, Tandarust Punjab Misssion teams swing into action. 35 teams comprising of nearly 200 officials, at the break of the day conducted surprise checks simultaneously in 35 main mandis across the State. Each team comprising of Secretary Market Committee, District Mandi officer, a member each from horticulture and health department, a couple of district level officers together with their staff conducted the raids Tuesday morning at 5 am. The Divisional Level Officers were also involved in the checking of larger mandis. The entire exercise lasted for about 4 hours wherein thousands of tonnes of fruits and vegetables were checked to ascertain their quality at the time of downloading the stock from the trucks into the mandis, informed KS Pannu MD Tanadrust Punjab Mission.He added , “ It is for the first time ever since the launch of the mission on June 5 that teams at such a large scale were mobilized simultaneously into action.”
Nearly, a hundred quintal of rotten/over ripe fruits and vegetables were found which were destroyed later and some unethically ripened fruits were also found. Samples of the chemicals and gas cylinders used in the artificial ripening were collected and sent to Punjab Bio Technology Incubator Laboratory for testing. He said that it is heartening to see that the arrival of artificially ripened fruits has decreased sizably with the subsequent raids and added that surprise checks coupled with awareness camps for ethical ripening of fruits are bearing fruit. Pannu said that the defaulters assured the teams of compliance of the rules and ethical ripening methods .It is pertinent to mention that State Mandi Board officers along with the experts from Post Harvest Technology Centre have been imparting training on ethical ripening of fruits through awareness camps held at mandi level. Besides, the Punjab Mandi Board has installed 56 Ripening Chambers of 10 tonne each in 13 mandis, which are successfully running. Motivated by the successful working of these Ripening Chambers private sector players have also ventured into the same.