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Imphal: Activists in Manipur are up against manufacturers of spurious food items who make a good fortune but pose a grave threat to public health, selling repackaged outdated items bought from other states.
A group of activists in Manipur on Friday raided the factory of Ajay Prasad from Bihar. He was doing a roaring business in Manipur and some other northeastern states, allegedly in spurious food items. The activists shut down his business forever.
It may be noted that the north eastern states have become a dumping ground of various spurious Indian-made foreign liquor, medicines and edible items.
Various consumer items with expired date of consumption are collected from cities like Kolkata, Delhi, Chennai and Mumbai and brought for sale in the north east states.
One of the student activists said: “Food inspectors in most of these NE states are conspicuous by their absence and inaction. It is the student activists who seize the food items which are highly injurious to health.”
“There had been complaints about suspicious looking medicines and contaminated bottles,” a medical representative said.
Joint Committee on Inner Line Permit System (JCILPS) and other activists of International Peace and Social Advancement (IPSA) and Kangleipak Students’ Association raided the street factory owned by Prasad at Khurai Ahongei in Imphal West district.
IPSA president Luwangcha Chingkhei said: “The raid was conducted on receiving complaints from some consumers. We found empty printed packets of popular brand names of various consumer items.
“The modus operandi is that sub-standard and injurious food items are stuffed in these packets for sale to the gullible consumers.”
He said there were huge quantities of used and odourless tea leaf sacks perhaps collected from hotels and restaurants. It is mixed generously and packed in “Kaziranga tea” manufactured in Assam.
Confessing to the crime of selling such a harmful consumer items, Prasad reportedly told the activists that he had bought a packaging machine two months ago.
He also said various biscuits, which expired long time ago are packed in new packets for sale through the region.
During recent raids, it was found that popular brand ice creams were manufactured at roadside factories using dirty drain water. Shops and houses divert washrooms’ effluents to the drains, from where criminals draw water for manufacturing the ice cream.
Ingredients of the ice creams were found full of flies and maggots inside the street factories during the raid.
Food inspectors and police were not available to comment as yet on the raid of the street factory of Prasad. (IANS)