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Jamshedpur markets flood with spurious herbal colours

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Jamshedpur, March 20: With Holi round the corner, the bazaar is abuzz with not only traditional items associated with the annual festival of colours like pichkaris, gulals and the like but many other products specially rolled out for the occasion.

The growing demand for organic colour at Holi has generate an industry of so called herbal gulal, which commands a premium in the market but fails to assure consumers of quality.

Taking undue advantage of people’s compulsion and demand of organic colour the shopkeeper’s are selling gulal for Rs 5-10 per 100gm stock similar pouches marked “herbal” for a fivefold increase of Rs 25.

Asked about the adulteration and being forged one of the shopkeeper at Bistupur Market claimed, “These colours are highly natural and are not spurious. People can go for it, without any hesitation we retailers also have to believe the label as true. There is no way of knowing whether or not the Holicolours are really organic.”

The common idea is that pigments prepared from natural substances are shades lighter than synthetic stuff, but “herbal” packets sold in the street are of the deepest type.

Vendors say that these colours are prepared from extracts of vegetables, fruits, flowers, geru (red soils) or turmeric and adding to the transportation cost and other charges becomes quite costly affair so it can not be purchased cheaply making it obvious to go high in price.

A stockist in Sakchiadmits , “Like consumers, we retailers also have to take a label at face value. There is no way of knowing whether or not the Holicolours are really organic.”

The existing law does not make it incumbent upon manufacturers of herbal colour to print the ingredients on the pack. Moreover, monitoring agencies like the FDA seldom check to ascertain the authenticity of these products, so manufacturers and retailers have a field day selling spurious material as demand grows. The few testing labs listed on the FDA’s outdated website do not conduct tests on Holicolour.

Meanwhile the market is flooded with cartoon shaped colourfulpichkaris this season. Children can be seen going for cartoon character shaped pichkaris especially famous cartoon character Ben 10, and Ganesha, the most in demand among the tiny-tots. Ranging from `150-200 these pichkaris are even preferred by the elders as they hold four to five litters of water.

Besides this Torch pichkari, ice cream pichkaris are huge hit among children. Looking forward to the price rise many of the guardians are going for cheaper pichkaris as the feel they are of no use as they could not be used again.

Roma, a housewife said, “I will not waste money on pichkari and I am looking for a cheaper one for my three-year-old son as I feel money is being wasted and it becomes useless after one use.”

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