With Odisha goverment identifying ‘Chakunda’ beans as the source of a toxin that killed a large number of tribal children, Malkangiri district administration on Tuesday launched a raid on godowns, local markets and trading centres suspected to be involved in adulterating pulses. As Tuesday is the day for the weekly market in many places in the tribal dominated district, collector K Sudarshan Chakraborty asked the supply department to verify whether the pulses are adulterated with ‘Chakunda’ (scientific name Cassia Occidentali) bean seeds.
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“We have collected samples of pulses and these will be sent to the state Food and Drugs Laboratory for examination,” said Birendra Karkara, sub-Collector of Malkangiri.
The district administration suspects that as the toxic beans are easily available in the region, traders could have adulterated pulses with the beans.
The expert team headed by Jacob Jonn in its interim report said ‘Chakunda’ beans was one of the causes for the death of children in Malkangiri.
As many as 97 children have so far died in Malkangiri district, official sources said.
Anthraquinone is the suspected toxin found in a plant called Cassia Occidentalis. Urine samples of a few children tested positive indicating that they must have consumed the seeds of the plant, Jonn had stated in the report.