Nepal orders recall of six of Ramdev’s ‘medicines’

In a major setback to Patanjali’s growing business, Nepal ordered Divya Pharmacy, Uttarakhand, to withdraw from the market six Ayurvedic medicines after they failed tests

Photo by Arvind Yadav/Hindustan Times via Getty Images
Photo by Arvind Yadav/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

NH Web Desk

While the Ayush ministry in India seems to have no issues with products of Divya Pharmacy (Uttarakhand), Drug Control Authority of Nepal has issued a public notice asking the Indian pharmacy, a wing of Baba Ramdev’s Patanjali Yogpeeth, to recall half a dozen ‘medicines’ after they failed microbial tests.

“According to the public notice, Patanjali’s Amla Churna of batch no AMC067, Divya Gashar Churna of batch no A-GHCI31, Bahuchi Churna of batch no BKC 011, Triphala Churna of batch no A-TPC151, Aswangandha of batch no AGC 081 and Adviya Churna of batch no DYC 059 had failed microbial tests,” the report further claimed.

The notice embarrassingly was issued on the International Yoga Day when Ramdev was setting a world record in Gandhinagar, doing Yoga along with 55000 people.

In April this year, the Central Food Laboratory, Kolkata, had found Amla juice produced by Patanjali to be sub-standard. The finding had prompted the Defence ministry’s canteen stores department (CSD), which runs a network of 3,900 stores, to suspend sale of the gooseberry juice.

Baba Ramdev, however, had contested the finding then and claimed that the gooseberry juice was not ‘food’ and therefore subject to tests by India’s Food Safety and Standard Authority of India (FSSAI). The juice, he had then said, was medicinal and therefore tested and certified by the Ayush ministry.

While food products of Patanjali were occasionally declared as ‘sub-standard’, this is possibly the first time that its Ayurvedic medicines have failed tests. Butter oil made by the Patanjali Group, said to have a turnover close to Rs 10,000 crore, was declared sub-standard by the Haryana Government while noodles marketed by it also failed to pass tests.

The setback was compounded by media reports that people in Yoga Guru’s own village, Saidalipur in Mahendragarh ( Haryana), are not too impressed with either Yoga or with the celebrity. Nobody was seen doing Yoga in the village on the International Yoga Day. Quizzed on the absence of Yoga enthusiasts in the village, a Hindustan Times reporter was told that people might be doing it at home.

Yahan koi yog nai karta…shayad 20-30 log karte honge…apne apne ghar par… (Here, no one practises yoga. May be 20-30 people are doing it at their home). The internal politics of this village is so complicated that people have managed to sabotage all initiatives of Ramdev,” reported HT, quoting Ramdev’s classmate and Saidalipur village sarpanch Deshpal Nambardar.

Baba Ramdev’s brother came up with the lame excuse that he was busy constructing his new house and therefore did not find the time to do Yoga. Other villagers said that those who were ailing could be doing it at home.

Curiously, while BJP governments in states have been bending backwards to allot hundreds of acres of land to Ramdev for a pittance to set up his industrial and commercial units, villagers of Saidalipur appear to have refused to part with any land for his ventures.

Ramdev had reportedly sought 10 acres of land to set up a residential school in the village on panchayat land. But people “jealous of his success”, his family members maintained, had shown no interest. The HT report quoted a villager as saying, “We don’t trust him since he doesn’t even visit his village despite being in the district. Many people from the village had approached him for help in seeking employment. But he didn’t help anyone.”

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