A young IAS officer, T.V. Anupama, recently took on the pesticide lobby of Kerala, and exposed the businesses of food adulterators in the state. About 15 months ago, she conducted many raids across the state, revealing some shocking figures about the products being sold by an established food brand. She found that the products contained high level of non-permissible substances. She also banned the product after raid.
Thanks to her random checks, 6,000 samples of adulterated food were seized from various farms in a year. 750 cases against defaulters were also registered. Surprisingly, some of the fruits and vegetables contained about 300 percent more pesticide residues than the permissible limit.
This sudden raid and shocking revelations led Keralites into thinking about the need to grow their own vegetables, kick-starting a healthy food campaign in the state.
Soon many people were seen indulging in growing their own vegetables. Anupama’s initiative was backed by the state government as well. The government delivered free seeds and saplings at people’s door steps, and also offered subsidy to those who wished to install drip-irrigation facility and bio-gas plants in their homes.
After this intervention, Kerala, which once used to buy 70 percent vegetables from Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, now produces 70 percent on its own.
Anupama is a 2010 batch IAS officer who had achieved the fourth all India rank in UPSC examination.