The Bold Voice of J&K

Hey days for adulterators; Govt withdraws JMC’s powers

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milk curdJAMMU: If you are selling unhygienic and sub-standard milk, adulterated sweets, misbranded food items and unsafe eatables in Jammu and Kashmir, this is the right time for you to earn good money as no officer of Jammu Municipal Corporation (JMC) can catch you.

Reason: The government has de-notified the Health Officers of the JMC’s Jammu and Srinagar as per the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2008. They cannot raid, seize or lift any sample
Instead the government has designated two officers-one each for Jammu and Srinagar. Hilal Ahmad, Incharge Assistant Commissioner Food for District Srinagar and Madan Magotrra incharge Assistant Controller Food for Jammu.
Handicapped for want of staff and infrastructure, no inspection has been conducted for the past one month since the issuance of order, dated 20th October, 2014.
In the past over one year, between 1st April, 2013 and 31st August, 2014, the Jammu Municipal Corporation lifted 96 milk samples from various shops in the capital city. Of these, 93 samples were tested and 37 found sub-standard, misbranded and unsafe.
During the same period, 339 samples of food items were lifted. So far 275 samples have been tested, of which 27 have been found misbranded, 12 as substandard, and four totally unsafe for human consumption.
The JMC collected license fees and fine of Rs 43 lakh from various offenders during the period 1st September 2013 to 31st October, 2014.
Following the de-notification orders, the Health Wing of the JMC has become totally toothless. They are left with no power to check, lift or test any sample of eatables.
When contacted JMC’s Health Officer Dr Saleem Khan confirmed that they have been divested of powers and hence cannot seize, destroy or lift anything under Foods Safety and Standards Act 2008.” JMC Commissioner Kiran Wattal said ” This is government order and we have to obey it.” The JMC teams have from time to time have done commendable job to apprehend the adulterators. “However, at present we are helpless as the Health Officers in Jammu and Srinagar have been divested of their powers, Wattal said.

VIVEK SHARMA

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