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Nepal SC stays govt move to roll back pesticide testing on vegetables, fruits

PTI

Kathmandu

Nepal’s Supreme Court on Wednesday stayed the government’s move of rolling back its earlier decision to check for permitted levels of pesticides in vegetables and fruits imported from India.

A single bench of Justice Anandamohan Bhattarai issued the ruling, ordering the government not to backtrack on its previous decision to conduct pesticide residue tests on vegetables and fruits imported from India.

On July 4, the government decided to put on hold its earlier decision made on June 17 to conduct test of imported vegetables and fruits at the custom points to ascertain levels of pesticide residue.

The government said that it had put on hold the decision to test pesticides in Indian vegetables and fruits as there are no sufficient facilities to conduct such tests. However, the decision courted controversy from different quarters including lawmakers of the ruling and Opposition parties.

A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was filed by two advocates at the Supreme Court on Tuesday against the government for rolling back its earlier decision.

The two advocates claimed that the government’s decision had put fundamental rights of Nepali citizens – including consumer rights and right to health – at risk. On June 17, the Nepal government had instructed its border authorities to test the level of pesticide before allowing Indian vegetables and fruits. Following the instructions, hundreds of trucks have been stuck at various border points. Nepal highly depends on fruits and vegetables imported from India.

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