Ram Vilas Paswan favours lifting ban on Khesari dal if found safe
NEW DELHI: Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan today favoured lifting the ban on Khesari dal if found fit for human consumption, saying that allowing its cultivation will help reduce pressure on pulses imports.
The Khesari dal was banned in 1961 due to health reasons. Food safety regulator FSSAI has sought Health Ministry’s approval to hold public consultation on approval of three varieties of Khesari dal — Ratan, Prateek and Mahateara.
"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," Paswan told reporters here.
The Minister said he himself has eaten Khesari dal for 15 years and never had any health problems.
"Khesari dal tastes good and it can be grown easily with less expense. It is grown mainly in north India,"
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).
"Based on scientific evidence and details that are available from experts, we reached the conclusion that lathyrism occurs only when it is taken in very large quantity. There is no evidence of lathyrism occurring due to consumption of the dal in last 20 years, " FSSAI CEO Pawan Kumar had said yesterday.
"So, we have asked the Health Ministry to approve a draft notification for public consultation on the matter," he had said.
India’s pulses production has stagnated at around 17-18 million tonnes and the country has to import 4-5 million tonnes to meet the gap.