An unprecedented has been plaguing Sikkim through April, forcing the state to dump a great quantity of food. On April 1, the Sikkim government put a ban on inorganic vegetables and fruits in a bid to become an “organic only” state.
As part of the process to go completely organic, enforcement officials of the horticulture department have been seizing inorganic items from different parts of the state since April 11. They also put out a notice asking all seized items to be disposed of in landfills.
The footage in the video above by The Darjeeling Chronicle shows government officials dumping and burying truckloads of inorganic vegetables in Majitar, Rangpo. According to NDTV, the government seized and disposed of at least 10 metric tons of inorganic fruits and vegetables in just one day. The video description pointed out, “This is tantamount to stealing from those who could have been easily fed using this food.” It also suggested that the food could have been donated instead to orphanages, the homeless, or old age homes.
Naturally, the dire situation has seen outrage from people across Sikkim and the country, with some associations seeking legal recourse against the ban. A senior political activist from Sikkim who recorded the video told The Darjeeling Chronicle, “People are dying due to starvation and here in Sikkim we bury vegetables in the name of organic politics.”
The ban has started to take a toll on vegetable and fruit markets in and outside the state, causing an acute shortage of supply, and prices have doubled. It has also drastically affected the income of vegetable distributors in Siliguri, West Bengal, from where Sikkim gets much of its supplies. Among the items exempted from the ban are onions, tomatoes, potatoes, green chillies and carrots.