Fake Fertiliser

Spurious and sub-standard fertilisers are on sale in different parts of the country for quite some time. Although there are lots of complaints from the users, the fakery continues with impunity. Recently police unearthed a fake fertiliser factory at village Chachra under Kaliganj in Jhenidah district and seized equipment for producing fake fertilisers. The owner of the factory was taken into custody.

The Jhenidah-based correspondent of The Independent in a report published yesterday said that the fake fertiliser factory was set up about one and a half years ago. During this long period the owner sold huge quantity of fertiliser to the unsuspecting growers and earned huge sums of money. A section of the fertiliser dealers also helped him run the trade in exchange of money. Reports have it that the dealer purchased the fake fertiliser from the factory at low price and sold it to farmers at high profit.

It is strange how this illegal trade could continue for such a long time under the very nose of the law enforcers and the local agriculture department. We have every reason to feel concerned because of the fact that crops produced by application of spurious fertiliser and use of harmful pesticide cause serious public health hazards as well as tells upon the soil fertility. Very often we hear that innocent farmers buy smuggled pesticides at cheaper rates which come from across the border and use it indiscriminately to ward off pest attack.

May be these substances are effective in eradicating the pest but the harmful effect on the human body remains unknown to the users and the growers. This also results in environmental hazards. The danger does not end here. Some other unscrupulous traders, in connivance with local arathdars (wholesalers), use chemical dyes in vegetables to make them look fresh for a longer period of time.

According to dependable sources, the bulk of vegetables, which find their way into Dhaka city from greater Jessore and other parts of the country, is sprinkled with chemical dyes. The buyers are always deceived by the fresh appearance of the vegetables they purchase from retailers. This sort of practice is going on for a long time and despite wide coverage in the media a coordinated effort to curb it has been lacking. In other words, public health is left at the mercy of a handful of dishonest people in the society. It is high time that proper steps are taken forthwith to put an end to this unwholesome business. (The Independent, October 30, 2003)

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