Kashmir’s Poisonous White Revolution

Kashmir’s Poisonous White Revolution

12 January 2012
Kashmir Observer
Nazir Ganaie

Srinagar: Clueless that the constitutional morning cuppa in Kashmir is actually a delivery mechanism for disease, the state’s food safety agencies on Thursday switched into the Hum Dekhen Gey mode on reports of almost the entire milk supply in Jammu and Kashmir being contaminated. While the deputy drug controller here has, according to his own admission to the Kashmir Observer today, been “conducting sampling of dairy products from time to time” but appears to have not even the faintest inkling of their safety and standards, the Food Safety Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has found that 83 per cent of the milk consumed in Jammu and Kashmir is laced with hazardous contaminants. The (FSSAI) has found that virtually every cup of tea grown-ups here have been taking for years, and every ounce of milk infants have been brought up on, is actually a deadly cocktail of detergents, soda, (even caustic soda), starch, and other unspecified synthetic substances, but all that the Srinagar Municipal Corporation has been able to do is ban one dairy producer, and remain understandably silent on the nature of its “violation of standards and norms.” No one bothers to explain why possible “violations” by others – dairy companies, doorstep delivery boys, neighbourhood gojris – have been ruled out. The FSSAI findings, actually an indictment of the state’s food and drug safety agencies, have been confirmed in their deadly impact by no less an authority than the director of the SKIMS, Dr. Shaukat Ahmad Zargar, a gastroenterologist of international repute, and many of his colleagues, who have long been assailed by heavy incidence of serious health disorders traceable also to serious food contamination. While the Drug Control Authority, the Srinagar Municipal Corporation, and even the most powerful of ministers, have done a virtual-double take on the Food Safety Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) report, people in the dairy business point fingers, and trade associations demand action, both washing hands off an issue amounting to the slow poisoning of the valley. It has taken an all-India survey to confirm what every housewife in Kashmir has always feared, but the state government’s food safety institutions appear to have been the classic “hear no evil, see no evil” lumps of lard capable only of knee-jerk reactions even on massive sale of sub-standard and spurious pharmaceuticals.