JD(U) asks Health Minister JP Nadda to stop lifting of ban on 'Khesari dal'

 KC Tyagi targeted Consumer Affairs Ministry headed by Ram Vilas Paswan for favouring lifting of ban on the pulse.

PTI| Last Updated: Jan 24, 2016, 00:26 AM IST

New Delhi: JD(U) on Saturday opposed any decision to lift the 55-year-old ban on Khesari dal and sought Health Minister JP Nadda's intervention, alleging "vested interests" in central government and research organizations were behind the move.

Party general secretary KC Tyagi targeted Consumer Affairs Ministry headed by Ram Vilas Paswan for favouring lifting of ban on the pulse and claiming that it will help reduce pressure on pulses imports.

He also hit out at Agriculture Ministry headed by senior BJP leader from Bihar Radha Mohan Singh, accusing the government of resorting to this move due to "agriculture failure".

Paswan had on Thursday said,"I read in newspapers that three new varieties of Khesari dal have been developed. If these varieties prove to be fit for human consumption, I think its cultivation should be allowed. This will help reduce stress on pulses production and imports."

The Food Minister had also said he himself has eaten Khesari dal for 15 years and never had any health problems.

Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) plans to come out with a draft notification to allow three variants of Khesari dal following a green signal from Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).

Agriculture Ministry said on Thursday that the government was promoting cultivation of three drought-resistant new varieties of khesari dal, with low neurotoxin ODAP content, in traditional areas.

Tyagi, however, alleged the recent proposal has nothing to do with the extra pulse production and arranging protein for the poor but "there seems to be the vested interests of the Consumers Ministry and other so-called research organisations".

Holding that the lifting of the ban could be "injurious" to health, he also wanted that the matter should be discussed in the coming Parliamentary session.

"This is to bring to your notice that the Indian Council of Medical Research has proposed to lift ban on the Khesari dal, which was banned in the year 1961 by Jawaharlal Nehru government as its consumption was linked to a neurological disorder called latheism.

"This issue is much important as it is related to the health of the citizens. The lifting of the ban could again be injurious to health and will lead to paralysis of the lower parts of body and numbness in the limbs and spine," he said in the communication.