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'Provide infrastructure to labs probing pesticide levels'

Posted on Apr 16 2014 | IANS

New Delhi, April 16 : The Delhi High Court Wednesday asked the state government to provide sufficient infrastructure to various laboratories probing the level of pesticides beyond permissible limits.

The order of a division bench of Acting Chief Justice B.D. Ahmed and Justice Siddharth Mridul came after the Delhi government informed it that current labs in the national capital were equipped to trace only 28 categories of pesticides in vegetables.

The court further directed amicus curie Sanjay Jain to give his response by next date of hearing, May 21, with regard to the long-term measures to deal with the issue.

The high court had earlier taken suo motu cognisance on an NGO report that said the amount of pesticides used by farmers in India was as much as 750 times higher than European standards.

Earlier, an expert committee was set up to look into the issue. The panel submitting its report in the court pointed out the high content of pesticide residue in vegetables and fruits and also the government's inability to check the poisonous trend.

The report said pesticide components like chlordane, endrin, heptachlor, ethyl and parathion, used to grow vegetables, have the potential to cause neurological problems, kidney damage, skin problems, cancer and other diseases.

Sanjay Jain had informed the court that 5.3 percent of vegetables and 0.5 percent of fruits sold in Delhi had pesticide content above the prescribed maximum residue limit.

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