Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar today said that formalin scare was beginning to affect tourism in the state
Speaking in the state assembly, he noted that tourists had stopped eating fish during their stay in Goa.
The chief minister asked the House to support the government in taking steps to resolve the matter so that the state does not earn a "bad name".
Mr Parrikar was replying to a calling attention motion moved by BJP legislator Nilesh Cabral and Congress MLA Aleixo Reginaldo Lourenco, over the fear and anxiety among people after traces of formalin were found in fish brought to Goa from other states.
A toxic chemical, formalin is used to preserve bodies and prevent decay in mortuaries.
"The irresponsible statements made on the issue of presence of formalin Ain fish have already started showing the impact on the tourism industry. I was told by the tourism industry that tourists have already stopped eating fish during their stay in Goa," the chief minister said.
The Opposition Congress has been disrupting proceedings of the House since last week over the issue.
The House also witnessed din today as the opposition pressed for an adjournment motion on the issue.
Mr Parrikar said fish prices have soared since the government banned its import.
He read out a list of the various fish sold in the state and their current market prices.
Responding to a demand for a ban on export of fish from Goa, the chief minister said all the stock harvested in the state is not consumed locally.
"There are several varieties of fish that are netted off the Goa coast but not consumed by locals. Those varieties are exported," he said.
Around 30,000 to 40,000 tonnes of fish harvested locally or brought in from neighbouring states is exported from the Mormugao Port Trust, he said.
The chief minister said banning the import or export of fish will not provide a solution for the polluted stock.
"Let us not get a bad name on this issue, we are getting a bad name on many other matters," he said.
"Fish, being the staple food of Goans, and the issue on hand having a direct bearing on the health of Goans, I would urge all members of the House to refrain from politicising the issue. I request all to support the government on the action taken and proposed to be taken for addressing the issue," Mr Parrikar said.
The government has utmost concern for the health of the people, added
The government has imposed a ban on the storage, distribution or sale of fresh fish brought from outside the state for a 15-day period from July 18, he said.
Since the enforcement of the ban, the police, in association with the transport department, prevented the entry of nine fish trucks from outside the state at the border check post, he told the House.
"The government is ready to consider extending the ban for a further period in the interest of the health of Goans if the prevailing circumstances warrant the same," he said.
As and when the ban is lifted, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) along with the Directorate of Fisheries and police shall continue to monitor the quality of fish through routine and periodic inspections at the major markets of Margao, Panaji and Mapusa, he said.
This would be done to build confidence among Goans about the quality of fish available in markets, the chief minister added.
The government had last week banned the import of fish from outside Goa till the end of this month to ensure formalin-laced fish do not land in the state.
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