Controversy erupts over use of cancer-causing banned chemical in footwear

A major political controversy has broken out in poll-bound Madhya Pradesh over the distribution of shoes
and slippers to over eight lakh tendu patta pluckers in the state following a report received from Central Leather Research Institute (CLIR), indicating the use of Azo in the inner sole of footwear given to them. Azo is a banned chemical, which could cause skin cancer, said CLIR scientists.

While the Opposition Congress accused the ruling BJP of playing with the health of tribals engaged in tendu patta plucking in forests of Madhya Pradesh and said the party would lodge an FIR in the matter, the BJP ruled out use of any hazardous chemical in the footwear and said over two lakh shoes and slippers were rejected following predelivery testing after they were found sub-standard but presence of any chemical was not found in any of the samples of footwear sent for testing, pre-delivery or post-delivery.

State forest minister Gaurishnkar Shejwar said that Footwear Development and Design Institute, Noida and another Union government's institute in Chennai had carried out testing of footwear and nothing like presence of Azo was found in any of the random samples sent to them were found but CLIR, which is part of Central Scientific & Industrial Research Institute (CSIR), in its report has confirmed presence of Azo, much to the embarrassment of Shivraj Singh Chouhan government. Post-delivery samples of footwear were sent to CLIR by MP Laghu Vanopaj Sangh, a co-operative body controlled by the state government.

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