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Veggies back in Gangtok, SDF defends ban

Statesman News Service | Gangtok |

Amid the hullabaloo about the ban on inorganic vegetables and fruits and the ensuing shortage of the essential commodities in the state’s markets, the Sikkim State Cooperative Supply and Marketing Federation Ltd (SIMFED) this morning supplied organic vegetables in Gangtok that officials said would be sufficient for the day.

The ruling Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF), meanwhile, urged people to bear with the government as it tries to solve the initial problems that have surfaced.

While SIMFED has been entrusted to supply and sell organic vegetables in the state, the body has been accused of selling inorganic vegetables after the ban that came into force on 1 April.

“We brought sufficient amount of organic vegetables on Friday and we are hopeful of bringing more on a regular basis so that people’s daily needs are met,” a SIMFED official said.

“The initiative taken by the government is in its initial stages, and if everyone co-operates, we will surely meet the demands in the days to come,” the official added. Kailash Agarwal, the General Secretary of the Sikkim Chamber of Commerce, appreciated the initiative, but also highlighted that the state cannot produce everything at one go.

“The markets are running short of certain vegetables, and hence the department should give relaxation to certain vegetables whose production is less in the state at present and try to ease the panic that is there right now,” he said. In a press statement, the ruling Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF), meanwhile, appealed to all Sikkim people to “strongly face the teething problems.”

“We appeal to all to strongly face the initial small hurdles and hardships in the early days and give their valuable contribution towards the building of an Organic Sikkim,” it said.

The SDF said that the ban on the import and sale of non-organic vegetables and fruits in the state from April 1 was a “progressive decision of the SDF government in the interest of the people and farmers of Sikkim.”

“Sikkim must be made self-reliant in the vegetable sector. Our farmers must be able to fulfil the vegetable demand of the markets in the state. Money flowing outside the state must go to our farmers. The opposition parties are needlessly shouting over this progressive and revolutionary decision of the state government,” the party added.