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Shoes given to Madhya Pradesh tribals cancerous: Report

The Madhya Pradesh Congress on Saturday accused the state BJP government of distributing footwear laced with carcinogenic material to tribals

india Updated: Aug 25, 2018 23:16 IST
Shruti Tomar and Punya Priya Mitra
Shruti Tomar and Punya Priya Mitra
Hindustan Times, Bhopal
Madhya Pradesh,Tribals,Adivasi
Halku Adivasi’s 15-month-old son Anil died of severe malnutrition, following which his second son was given BCG and DPT vaccines together.(HT File Photo)

The Madhya Pradesh Congress on Saturday accused the state BJP government of distributing footwear laced with carcinogenic material to tribals following a report of the Chennai based Central Leather Research Institute, a claim denied by the state government.

The institute examined four samples of footwear from the consignment meant for distribution among tribals in Dindori district, of which two samples had very high azo content. The environment ministry in 1997 described azo dyes as carcinogenic and banned their use.

Afer the tests, Madhya Pradeshh forest minister Gauri Shankar Shejwar said that although the footwear had beens procured, it was yet to be distributed. “We have not distributed the carcinogenic footwear and we have distributed only those footwear that passed the test. We have asked the company that manufactured the failed samples to take the consignment back and we plan to blacklist it,” he said.

However, Congress tribal leader Vikrant Bhuria alleged that the carcinogenic footwear has been distributed. “Around a million of these slippers\shoes have been distributed. If the report is true then the government should apologize and take back the shoes\slippers otherwise the Congress will launch an agitation,” he said while talking to reporters in Alirajpur.

State Congress president Kamal Nath tweeted: “The disclosure in a report by the leather research institute that the shoes distributed to tribals have carcinogenic material in them is disturbing. How can anyone play with the lives of people? How were lakhs of shoes\slippers distributed without any testing? Who is responsible?”

The officials of the Laghu Udyog Nigam, the government agency through which these footwear was procured, said that the government plans to distribute around 2.2 million shoes and slippers to the tribal tendu leaf collectors and so far around a million have been distributed. Each shoe costs Rs 195 and each slipper, Rs 130.

The chief minister launched the scheme with a large function in Pohri in Shivpuri district on May 20, where tendu leaf collectors were given, shoes\slippers, water bottles and saris. These slippers and shoes are being distributed all over the state since May.

First Published: Aug 25, 2018 23:16 IST