Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorities raided shops in Jadhavwadi area and seized mangoes which were ripened by using calcium carbide, a chemical that is dangerous to health. Around 174 boxes of calcium carbide were confiscated. The officers from FDA destroyed around 1500 kilograms of mangoes ripened with calcium carbide, in the garbage depot at Naregaon.
Mangoes ripened with calcium carbide were found in shop number 206 at agricultural produce market committee's vegetable and fruit wholesale market in Jadhavwadi. The same calcium carbide is used with oxygen to melt iron while welding. The acetylene gas emitted from calcium carbide is said to be poisonous and harmful to heart and other organs of the body. If this gas comes in contact with water, the chemical reaction generates vinyl alcohol and acetaldehyde. Both these constituents are harmful for the body.
Team of FDA officers and employees led by FDA joint commissioner (Food) Chandrashekhar Salunkhe and Aurangabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) health officer Dr Jayashri Kulkarni reached fruit market at Jadhavwadi at 9 am. Some officers entered various shops and inquired about the prices of mangoes. They found paper packets in shop number 206 kept in plastic crates. The officers confiscated these packets and checked 75 plastic crates with 1500 kgs of mangoes.
They found two to three packets of calcium carbide kept in each of these crates. The officers conducted a panchanama and confiscated 174 packets of calcium carbide with 1500 kgs of mangoes.
Around 1500 kgs of mangoes were taken to AMC's Naregaon garbage depot where the produce was destroyed by burying it 10 to 15 feet deep in the ground. Joint commissioner of FDA, M D Shah, officers S D Terkar, A A Pawar and others participated in the task. The Union and State governments have banned the use of calcium carbide to ripen fruits. In this regard, FDA will be filing a case against the seller, if particles of carbide are found in mangoes after undergoing tests in laboratories. Those found guilty are fined with Rs 2 lakhs to Rs 10 lakhs and imprisonment for six months. Earlier, FDA held a workshop of wholesalers and commission agents to apprise them of these modalities. However, the lust for money is leading to increasing use of calcium carbide. Action against heavyweights awaited
Action is yet to be taken against big players in the business, allege sources. Several godowns owned by heavyweight businessmen are located in areas like Baijipura, Kiradpura, Rajabajaar, central bus stand, Padegaon, Chikalthana and Harsul. Mangoes are allegedly ripened by calcium carbide on a large scale there, informed sources from Jadhavwadi.