Monday, 29 May, 2023

Poor quality Iftar items on sale in Khulna

KHULNA: Poor quality iftar items are being sold in the markets of 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 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 jelapi is selling for Tk 20 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 chola and piazi are selling for Tk 40 against Tk 20 last year.

Md Kamal Hossain, a seller of a roadside iftar shop at New Market 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, papayas and bananas are being artificially ripened by using a carcinogenic (cancer inducing) chemical called ethylene oxide, calcium carbide said CAB Khulna district unit coordinator Advocate Md Enayet Ali. No flies found near these fruits.

Civil Surgeon of Khulna Dr Md Sujayet Ahmed 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.

Convener of Khulna Nagorik Samaj, also freedom fighter Advocate AFM Mohsin urged the relevant authority to look into the quality of the iftar items on an emergency basis.

It is seen that a huge number of men, women and children gather in these shops in the evening daily to buy these items. Tamanna Khanom, a female buyer said that she is in job in an NGO here and her husband is also in a job in a pharmaceutical company. They have been fasting during the holy Ramdan. They fail to prepare their iftar daily. And that is why her family fully depends on these temporary iftar shops, though she is quite aware of its low quality.