Fishy Assertion On Formalin
FISH is a highly perishable commodity. If it is not maintained at the proper temperature of 5 degree Celsius, it gets spoilt. To avoid that and increase its shelf-life, the sellers use chemicals such as formalin and ammonia. The flip-flop which has put the state government on the backfoot unleashes every day a fresh stream of protests to the point that we are doing the unthinkable – as far as Goans are concerned – we have given up fish until the formalin conundrum is put to rest. In 1987, the US Environmental Protection Agency classified formaldehyde as a human carcinogen under conditions of prolonged exposure. Since that time, medical literature is replete with studies in humans that suggest that formaldehyde ingestion is associated with various types of cancer. It is regrettable therefore that Dr Shekhar Salkar instead of being proactive in banning import of all contaminated fish releases dubious press statements, that too as a member of the Goan Cancer Society, vouching with an air of superiority, that “ingested formalin is not carcinogenic”.
FRANCISCO COLAÇO, MARGAO
Herculean Task On Firecrackers
THE Supreme Court has reportedly modified its order which had fixed ‘8 pm to 10 pm’ as the slot for burning crackers on Diwali and other festivals, saying that authorities in the state are at liberty to change the timings but the duration will not exceed two hours. It must be said that it will be a huge challenge for the authorities concerned to keep a watch on whether bursting of crackers is taking place beyond the stipulated time. The state government will have to decide on the two-hour time slot when the bursting of crackers is to be allowed in their respective state which will also vary as per the festival. This time slot then has to be given wide publicity so as the general public are aware as to when they can burst the crackers. It will be a mammoth task for the authorities to apprehend those people who are bursting crackers before and after the stipulated time. Those bursting the crackers can move from the place within the time it takes for the crackers to burst after lighting it. It remains to be seen how effectively the state government machinery implements this restriction on the bursting of crackers in their respective state.
ADELMO FERNANDES, VASCO
No Achhe Din For EPS Pensioners
IT has been more than four years now that the pension of persons under the EPS-95 pension scheme was raised to a minimum of Rs 1000 per month. Ever since pensions have remained static with no increase in dearness allowance or benefits under the central government’s Sixth and Seventh Pay Commission schemes which are enjoyed from time to time by central and state government pensioners. There are more than 30-35 lakh pensioners covered under the EPS pension scheme who now have to live off on a measly pension of Rs 1000 per month in these days of high inflation, even as others are enjoying hefty pensions and benefits commensurate with the cost of living index. It is not known why such discriminatory and step-motherly treatment is meted out to these hapless pensioners even in the sunset years of their lives. It is hoped that the Centre will review the situation and raise their pension to a reasonable level, if not on par with the government pensioners.
A F NAZARETH, ALTO PORVORIM