State govt’s veggie ban not in the interest of the people: SUF

Gangtok, 11 Apr:

Sikkim United Front [SUF], a political party, has alleged that the people of Sikkim have been suffering due to the “wrong decisions and policies” of the State government with regard to the Organic Mission. The party stated that the decision of the government to ban import and sale of non-organic vegetables lacks farsightedness and is not in the interest of the people of Sikkim.

Addressing a press conference here today, SUF founder member, Tirtha Sharma, stated that even though people want to support the Organic Mission, non-organic vegetables from Siliguri were much more affordable.

“So the government should subsidize the organic produce so that the people of Sikkim can buy the organic vegetables at an affordable price,” he said.

Stressing on the people’s right to have the food of their choice, he added, “If the State government is really serious, then it should ban casinos, alcohol and lotteries which have been directly affecting the people of Sikkim.”

He also pointed out that the State has been facing the present problem due to the wrong statistics on agricultural and horticultural production provided by the concerned officials of the State government.

On the same, he demanded that the State government take action against such officials who have misguided the government with wrong figures.

He added that the government should check the ground reality first.

He also raised fears over possible black-marketeering of non-organic produce owing to the strict vigilance in the State.

Another SUF founder member, Narendra Adhikari, expressed that the government’s vegetable ban decision was welcome, but that the implementation was improper.

He stressed that if the government was really sincere, then the State should have lab-testing facilities to test the genuineness (organic nature) of the vegetables.

He informed that except for a cold storage established during NB Bhandari’s government at Majhitar, there were no other cold storages in the State. On the same, the party demanded the government to establish more cold storages to store organic produce.

“If the State government is really sincere and serious about its vegetable ban then it should ban all non-organic vegetables from the outside and the markets of the State should have surplus amount of organic produce for the people of Sikkim,” Mr Adhikari stated.

On the destruction of non-organic vegetables today, he stated that the step was inhuman and inappropriate when people in the different parts of the country are starving.