TODAY -

The unholy alliance

Samarjit Kambam *

Stone chips found in a rice sack supplied for Anganwadi centre on October 24 2009
Stone chips found in a rice sack supplied for Anganwadi centre in October 2009 :: Pix - TSE



At midnight when we are immersed in a deep slumber, almost half dead, vibrant activities are going on in big godowns at many places of Imphal and other valley areas. While we are busy dreaming the night away, there are many nocturnal players out there carrying out their evil designs adulterating food preferably grocery items with all kinds of items starting from stones, dried cattle shit, wood dust from saw mills, chalks, sand and many "God knows what" items, mixing inferior quality items with superior ones, stuffing hormones and spraying hazardous chemicals on fruits and vegetables such as mangoes, grapes and apples so that they gain weight, appear deceptively ripe and luscious thereby coating them with toxins which refuse to budge even after repeated thorough washes.

There were many instances where, instead of getting healthy and having a glowing complexion, the ones who consume such fruits and vegetables occasionally suffer from food poisoning. God knows how much quantity of adulterated soft drinks we have gulped down our belly.

Imphal city is a big womb of huge syndicates where embryonic adulteration godowns have gestated into full blown mammoth godowns. They are tantamount to experimental laboratories and the stakeholders involved in running them include big businessmen mostly non locals, hot shots contractors, agents, corrupt politicians and bad cops bringing out sub-standard eatables, grocery items, vegetables and fruits after carrying out their permutations and combinations with we, the common people as their guinea pigs, the main victims. With the intensity of adulteration getting exponential, now-a-days, it hardly makes any difference between a non-user and an intoxicant user because either way, the health is compromised.

In our more than two millenniums old history of independent Manipur, every household had huge areas for kitchen gardening alongwith a pond (which was considered mandatory). There was nothing fishy about the different variety of fish, everything were fresh and free from chemicals and hormones that produce toxins in the body after consumption. The vegetables and fruits were free from artificial fertilizers.

So, over and above being more delicious, our forefathers could derive enormous health benefits from home grown eatables and home reared fish. Now the scenario has changed drastically. Almost everything that we eat or drink from grocery items, fruits, vegetables, milk, fish to red meat are all highly chemical laden which means full of toxins. The eating habits have also changed.

In the name of modernisation, children are stuffed with junk foods as breakfast before going to school. Aerated drinks have become the trend. Meanwhile, the process of adulteration is going on unabated before the eatables hit the marketplace.

It is really unfortunate that five members of Kangleipak Students Association (KSA) were rounded up and dumped in police custody instead of giving punishment to the perpetrators of the crime. Where have the consumer forums and concerned authorities gone? Why is there no comment from their side, let alone taking up appropriate actions? The Food Safety Unit of State Medical Directorate seems to be almost non-existent.

It is a known fact that politicians borrow huge amounts of money from big businessmen, mostly non locals for election expenditure. In fact, the economy of the state is in their hands and we have already become economic slaves even though we are not physical slaves of non-locals. What a pathetic scenario.

So, the hot shots, political leaders, high level bureaucrats, being highly dependent on them, always come to their rescue. The ground reality is that many political leaders are at the whims and fancy of these crooked big businessmen. So, is the arrest of the KSA members justified while the culprits are going scot free?

We the valley dwellers, especially the Meeteis are too good, too kind and are easily manipulated and taken for a ride by the rhetoric, theatrics and histrionics of the non locals. Some things in our bloodline throughout the ages such as sympathy and compassion which we cannot get rid of have been taken as our main weaknesses and we are tantamount to expendables playing the games the way they want to play and dancing according to their tune.

The Kangleipak Students Association did a wonderful job. They need our praise and gratitude. Recently, the All Manipur Working Journalists Union headed to Tamei and brought out to the public the pathetic scenario of schools and educational institutions. Their effort is an eye opener for the people, bringing out to the limelight the flaws of the system, the lethargy of the concerned authorities. It is the responsibility of the government, of the concerned authorities of the concerned ministry. But, so far, nothing has been done.

So, someone has to do it. We can't let it remain as it is for in this competitive fast changing world, we can't keep on ignoring. If we keep on ignoring, we are stepping backwards or inserting another nail in the coffin of our own respective area's development.

This nexus or unholy alliance amongst stockists, agents, politicians, movers and shakers and higher echelons is a vivid example or real world illustration. There were cases where a whole colony, a colony of petrol, kerosene and diesel mongers were up in flames and razed to the ground leaving behind nothing but ashes.

One may find it hard to believe, but, there are "specialists" in the field where illegal laboratories abound. At such labs, these specialists, mostly non locals carry out chemical processes to produce liquids that smell and look like petrol which are added to the original petrol, thereby increasing the quantity, another form of adulteration.

These specialists possess such dexterity in their respective field that they are hired on hourly basis. So, please have a thorough soul searching of what the engines of our vehicles would become if we put on such type of adulterated petrol. If the concerned authority fails to do their job, then we, the people have to do what is required to be done for we can't turn a blind eye and deaf ear into the ills which is eating into us, eating into our society. Such perpetrators of adulteration are scums of the society, to be thrown out, to be weeded.

An early release of the KSA members and meting out punishment against the perpetrators of adulteration which is a crime should be given top priority by the government before things get really nasty.


* Samarjit Kambam wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was posted on June 05 , 2016.


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