The Delhi High Court on Tuesday directed an expert committee, set up by it, to frame guidelines within three months to check the presence of pesticide residues in fruit and vegetables sold in Delhi markets.
The court also accepted a plea of pesticide manufacturers, seeking a direction to the panel to allow their suggestions while framing the guidelines. The Bench directed the six-member committee to file its report containing the guidelines by August 17. The bench also included Dr Sandhya Kulshrestha, Secretary of the Central Insecticide Board and Registration Committee, in the panel.
The committee was formed on May 10, 2011 after NGOs submitted media reports, including that by the Hindustan Times that vegetables and fruits finding their way to Delhi markets are a toxic cocktail capable of causing cancer, heart disease and infertility. They also claimed that fresh produce sold in the Capital contained four banned pesticides and insecticide.
Filing an affidavit before the court, the Centre's lawyer Meera Bhatia informed that the expert committee would be headed by the joint director of the Agriculture Ministry.
The ministry had convened a meeting on February 14, attended by food and safety and Delhi government officials.