LAKKI MARWAT - The district administration has decided to tighten vigilance on the border with Punjab to stop transportation of non-iodised salt to the district.

The decision was taken at a meeting held in district secretariat on Thursday with Deputy Commissioner Syed Mujeebur Rehman in the chair. Assistant Commissioner Abdul Shakoor Dawar, Micronutrient Initiative (MI) representative Sadiq Hussain, DEO Taj Ali Khan, DFC Suhail Habib and other concerned officials of the line departments were in the attendance.

Hussain informed the meeting that transportation of non-iodised salt from Kalabagh (Mianwali) was posing a serious threat to the human health in the district. "The non-iodised salt is first brought to Lakki city wherefrom the local traders supply it to the rural localities", he told.

He underlined the need to devise a strategy/mechanism to stop the practice. He further told that the sale of non-iodised salt was completely banned and relevant laws to this effect should be implemented in letter and spirit. He also said that officials of local administration, health and food departments imposed fines on the owners of salt factories for producing non-iodised salt.

The micronutrient initiative representative also said that iodine deficiency could cause mental retardation, goiter, neonatal and infant mortality, intellectual disability, miscarriages and other complications in human beings especially in pregnant women and children.

Speaking at the meeting DC Mujeebur Rehman directed the health department to launch awareness drive with the collaboration of other stakeholders about the usefulness of use of iodised salt in daily diet. He said the transportation of non-iodised salt from the neighbouring Mianwali would be stopped by ensuring strict vigilance. "The local administration will also take action against the traders if they were found involved in selling non iodised salt at their outlets," he maintained. He directed the price magistrates to keep rapid testing kits along with them during surprise inspection visits to check salt iodisation on the spot.