Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis stated in the Legislative Council Wednesday there was a possibility of gutter water being used to cultivate vegetables along the suburban railway tracks in Mumbai. He also claimed that the government had given directions to the railway authorities to ensure that clean water was used by contractors cultivating crops along railway lines.
A question was raised in the Legislative Council over the harmful effects of vegetables cultivated along railway tracks in the city and the steps that taken by the state government to regulate this.
Under a scheme started in 1975, the suburban railways had allowed leasing of land along railway lines to grow crops. The move aimed to save these land from encroachment. These contracts, for nearly 400 acres, were mainly given to former railway employees. However, there have been rising concerns that the vegetables are being grown using dirty water, which makes the produce harmful for consumption.
“We cannot rule out the possibility that gutter water is being used to cultivate these crops,” Fadnavis said in a written reply to a question raised in the Upper House. He, however, claimed that there was no concrete proof that consumption of these vegetables might lead to cancer, diabetes and other ailments. “We have given directions to the Railways that they should ensure the usage of clean water for cultivation before they grant permissions for such cultivation,” Fadnavis said.