Goa unit Congress president Girish Chodankar
Goa unit Congress president Girish Chodankar

Goa Cong wants Fernandes' appointment as designated officer to test fish for formalin

ANI | Updated: Jun 20, 2019 23:01 IST

Panaji (Goa) [India], June 20 (ANI): The Congress party on Thursday urged the state government to appoint Iva Fernandes as a designated officer with full power at Margao wholesale market for testing fish to ensure that formalin is not used for their preservation.
In a letter to Chief Minister Pramod Sawant, state Congress chief Girish Chodankar has demanded that Fernandes, a senior FDA officer, should be appointed as the officer at Margao market to keep a check on fish imported from other states.
"You are fully aware that on June 12 last year, a surprise raid was conducted at the Margao Fish Market by the FDA under the designated officer Iva Fernandes and the fish tested was found positive for formalin," Chodankar said.
"The confusion and fear started as the morning positive report became negative in the evening. The unwarranted interference of Cabinet ministers on the issue created more fear and anxiety in the minds of fish consuming Goans. As a result, the sale of fish dropped drastically," he added.
Chodankar pointed out that a fish testing laboratory set up by the Central government at Margao is yet to become functional.
"Your various ministers made various promises since then, including world-class fish-testing laboratories at Margao. Former union minister Suresh Prabhu inaugurated the new office and laboratory complex of the Export Inspection Agency (EIA) at SGPDA, Margao on January 28, 2019, which was to be operationalised by March 2019. But till date, the laboratory is yet to start functioning," Chodankar said.
Last year, Goa saw a scare after suspicion had arisen that some fish imported were laced with formalin, a chemical that has the potential to cause cancer.
After tests confirmed the presence of formalin in fish, the Goa government had banned the import of fish from outside the state.
The state Congress president said that the party's demand was accepted by Deputy Chief Minister Vijay Sardesai.
"The non-appointment of Iva Fernandes till date has created more suspicion, fear, and anxiety in the minds of the people. People have reason to believe that Iva Fernandes is being kept away to protect the fish mafia involved in importing/selling formalin-laced fish," Chodankar said.
He further said, "I would like to draw your attention to the recent press conference held by Benaulim MLA Churchill Alemao that formalin laced fish has already entered Goa and (he) expressed fear that we are consuming poisonous fish. In such circumstances, it is paramount to appoint Iva Fernandes." (ANI)