Springing into action once again after fifteen days, the teams of Mandi Officers raided 68 fruit and vegetable markets in the early hours of the day. Overripe fruits and vegetables were destroyed on the spot and erring firms/ traders were fined from Rs. 1000 to Rs.10000 depending upon the extent of the fault.Enunciating details, KS Pannu, Mission Director Tandarust Punjab said that early Tuesday morning various teams of officers including team headed by General Manager Punjab Mandi Board inspected fruit and vegetable markets statewide. To utter surprise there was no unethically ripened fruit; instead overripe fruits and those contaminated by fungus were found. 67.7 quintals of fruits and vegetables unfit for human consumption were destroyed.It is indeed heartening to see that finally the impact of the month long campaign has borne fruit by the clearout of unethically ripened fruits from the markets, said Pannu.
The entire exercise began with surprise checks meant to warn the fruits and vegetable traders, followed by awareness drives. Raids of Tuesday morning were meant basically for the assessment of the impact of the entire five week long activity. ‘‘I am happy to share that Punjab Fruit markets are on the threshold of being ‘Calcium Carbide Free’’, said Pannu.It is pertinent to mention that earlier in one of its kind exercise, 35 teams comprising of nearly 200 officials, had conducted surprise checks simultaneously in 35 main mandis across the State on June 26 wherein thousands of tonnes of fruits and vegetables were checked to ascertain their quality.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 running successfully. Motivated by the successful working of these Ripening Chambers private sector players have also ventured into the same.