The Assam government on Tuesday had banned the import and sale of fish from other states for a period of 10 days following tests on samples that showed presence of formalin.
Speaking to the media, Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare Pijush Hazarika said that samples of fish imported from other states that he had collected on June 29, after visiting various fish markets in Guwahati, tested to have traces of formalin.
The MLA had informed that all fish imported from Andhra Pradesh and other states were banned for 10 days beginning on Tuesday.
According to Hazarika, imports would only be allowed after it has been found that they do not have any formalin content or the importers themselves give assurance that the practice of using the dangerous chemical has been stopped.
Hazarika has directed the district magistrates and food safety officers to ensure that fish with formalin are not sold in the markets from Wednesday while the ban is in force.
Anyone violating the ban or found using formalin to preserve the fish for longer period would face punitive legal action with arrests and jail terms ranging from two to seven years and fines of up to Rs 10 lakh, cautioned the MLA.
He also warned traders of punitive action, including arrests and prison terms up to seven years and hefty fines as high as Rs 10 lakh, if they did not abstain from from using formalin.