THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Though the Thiruvananthapuram Corporation had promised to rein in the flow of toxic and rotten fish, formalin-laced fish varieties continue to reach the city markets. According to the fishermen community, authorities only raid small-time vendors who sell fish in smaller quantities at local markets, while large-scale suppliers, including wholesale market dealers, go scot-free. Also, the Corporation has turned a blind eye in scrutinising containers which transport the fish in large quantities from various parts of the country. “There are no raids in the wholesale markets or on the containers that arrive in the city daily. Raids are conducted only in the smaller markets. However, this is not the main source. The scrutiny has to start from the checkposts,” said Peter T, president, National Fishworkers Forum.
According to him, even in Thampanoor, which is the heart of the city, formalin-laced fish is found in abundance. But, no checks by health officials are conducted. “The toxic fish need to be seized from the source if the effort needs to pay off,” he said.
Health department officials say it is easier to crack down on vendors at local fish markets as the fish is sold to the public through them. However, they admit that small-time vendors are victims of the bigger network. “There have been many instances where agents or middlemen use formalin on fish after they are brought ashore. So, the crack down should begin from these whole sale fish markets,” said a Corporation health official.
The Mayor, however, was unavailable for comments. Ice factories, which are also used by the middle-men, should also be scrutinised.However, no steps have been taken so far, in this regard, Peter said. Last month, 1,122 kg of rotten fish and 663 kg of formalin-laced fish were seized from various markets in the city, prompting Mayor K Sreekumar to promise a crack down on the toxic fish.