Bhubaneswar: The Orissa Agriculture Department has taken legal action against pesticide-laced spurious mosquito repellent incense sticks and condemned its selling and manufacturing in the state.
The Agriculture Department raided its dealers and manufacturers such as M/s Gulmarg Products, M.E. Perfumers, M/S ATR Associates, M/s Vijay Kumar Agarbatti works. They have been accused of selling pesticide-laced spurious incense sticks like Happy Herbal Incense Stick and Parag Relief Citronella Herbal Incense Stick.
Criminal cases have been filed against them in District Magistrate Court of Cuttack on December 6 and District Magistrate Court of Bhubaneswar on December 7, the Agriculture Department said.
Pesticide-laced spurious incense sticks cause serious health hazards. Thus, it is a criminal offence to manufacture or sell them. The criminal case is filed against the three dealers and manufacturers under the provisions of Insecticides Act 1968. The raids and legal action was taken by the Agriculture Department of Orissa along with Home Insect Control Association (HICA).
Commenting on the issue, Agricultural Inspector said, “We aim to mark an end to the sale and manufacturing of illegal incense sticks by holding them responsible in the court of law. Our aim is to create awareness among local retailers about spurious agarbatti products and that dealing in them is a punishable offence. Retailers across socio-economic classes such as pan-beedi shops, e-commerce websites and stand-alone stores propagate the use of these chemically laced brands in the market which impact the common man.”
Illegal mosquito repellent incense sticks are getting manufactured with compounds made from various unapproved pesticides’ formulations which are not tested for toxicity. Increased usage of these Incense sticks can cause multiple health disorders such as genetic mutations, lung cancer, asthma, and other respiratory diseases, leukemia, heart disease, skin irritation, and neurological problems. There has been a considerable increase in the number of children (in the age bracket of 5-12 years) suffering from multiple respiratory issues, more so with the onset of winter months.
Jayant Deshpande, Secretary, and Director, Home Insect Control Association (HICA), further added, “The use of such chemical-laced agarbatti is becoming rampant in particular states in India. By conducting such raids, we aim to make the market free of these products and bring to the notice of consumers the adverse health effects of using the same. By manufacturing or importing such unapproved pesticide-laced harmful incense sticks (agarbattis), many unlawful organisations and persons have mushroomed in the country to peddle and distribute ‘misbranded insecticides’ as ‘herbal or natural agarbattis’. Thus, unscrupulous players within agarbatti industry and companies are giving a complete go-by to public health concerns and the insecticide regulatory regime in India. As an industry body, we urge all local businessmen and smallest retailers to refrain from buying, storing and peddling such pesticide-laced unapproved agarbattis as it could land them into criminal prosecution for selling and distributing such illegal products.”