By Our Reporter | Shillong, July 18, 2018:
A day after the Meghalaya government decided to ban sale of imported fish for a period of 15 days, state Health and Family Welfare Minister, Alexander L Hek came up with a contradictory statement stating that the government will not ban import of fish from other states until traces of formalin is found.
“We will not ban the import of fish from other states until and unless we come across any positive cases on the use of formalin,” Hek told newsmen after the meeting with the Khasi-Jaiñtia Fish Wholesaler and Retailers Association here today.
He further stated that they will take a call to ban export of fish from outside if they detect a single positive case.
Meanwhile, Hek informed that a total number of 26 samples collected from fish were send to the State Public Health Laboratory in Assam. According to him, 50 percent of the samples which were tested were found to be negative. He further informed that the reports of the remaining samples which were send to the laboratory in Assam would be received in two weeks time.
He, however, said that the testing kit (Formaldehyde detection kit) has already arrived in the state adding that the officials of the Fisheries and Health and Family Welfare department would carry out the testing of the fish which comes from other States in all the market places adding that they would also carry out the test of the local fishes.
Further, Fisheries Minister, Comingone Ymbon said that the Meghalaya is importing a total of 21,000 metric tons of fish annually from other States adding that the demand of fish in East Khasi HIlls alone is 15,000 metric tonnes annually.
On Tuesday, Additional chief secretary, P.W. Ingty had said that in the interest of the public safety and health, the government has decided to ban all imported fish, adding that an order in this regard would come into force from Wednesday.
Consumers in Meghalaya feared that fish brought from far-off places like Andhra Pradesh has been laced with preservatives (formalin), which is dangerous to human health.