Despite monitoring on markets by the Khulna City Corporation (KCC), ‘sub-standard’ Iftar items are being sold in Khulna city and its outskirts since the beginning of the holy Ramadan.
The syndicates of who are involved with selling adulterated food and goods have become active again in the divisional city breaking all previous records.
Apart from established restaurants, the seasonal food makers set up makeshift stalls on both sides of lanes, bi-lanes and streets in the afternoon, displaying varied Iftar items being prepared since the morning.
The food items, displayed in an organised manner on tables in front of shops, are piazu (deep-fried lentil paste), beguni (deep-fried brinjal slices), potato chop (deep-fried mashed potato ball), halim (a stew-like dish made of wheat, barley, meat, lentils and spices), jelapi (sweet) and local as well as imported fruit at different restaurants.
The Chinese restaurants and also the posh hotels welcomed the Muslims with traditional Iftar items, somewhat higher in prices that only suit those who can afford to visit such places, especially with the family members.
A piece of Shahi Zelapi is selling for Tk 15 against last year’s Tk 10. Firni selling Tk 100 against Tk 50 last year, a piece of beguni is selling for Tk 6 while its price was Tk 4 only a year back, 100 grams of bhuna chhola and piazi are selling for Tk 30 against Tk 20 last year.
Abdul Mannan, a seller of a roadside Iftar shop at Ferryghat area of the city said that Iftar items have become dearer as the prices of Iftar making items including vegetables, cooking oil and pulses went up sharply. High production costs have pushed up the prices of Iftar items and have led to subsequent fall in sales, he said.
Sources said, flooding the market with adulterated food and coloured Iftar items continued unabated posing serious health hazard to the consumers.
Physicians observed that children are the worst sufferers of the different toxic chemicals and textile dyes used to colour Iftar items. Pineapples, mangoes, papayas and bananas are being artificially ripened by using a carcinogenic (cancer inducing) chemical called ethylene oxide, calcium carbide said CAB Khulna unit coordinator Advocate Md Enayet Ali. No flies found near these fruits.
In the afternoon, people from all walks of life were seen purchasing their essentials and favorite food items from the kitchen markets, while the housewives were busy making delicious Iftar items at home.
Dr ASM Abdur Razzak, Civil Surgeon of Khulna district, said that after dawn to dusk fasting, the body demanded food and waited to take anything. If a person eats contaminated food, it gets rapidly digested and transported into the blood, causing serious health hazards, he added.
The government already enforced a number of measures to keep prices of some commodities within the reach of the common people, check extortion and uphold quality of food items in the city markets during the holy month of Ramadan.