Food adulteration: HC seeks status on functioning of 2 food testing labs

Food adulteration: HC seeks status on functioning of 2 food testing labs

Directs SSB to complete selection of technical manpower by Sep 29  
Srinagar: The J&K High Court has directed government to file status report by September 29 regarding steps taken to make the two food testing laboratories functional at Srinagar and Jammu respectively.
Hearing a suo-moto Public Interest Litigation, a division bench of Justices Muzaffar Hussain Attar and Ali Mohammad also impleaded chairman Service Selection Board (SSB) and directed completion of the selection process of technical manpower for the laboratories by September 29.
The direction followed submission by Controller, Drugs that the recruiting agency was yet to start the selection process despite referring the posts almost a year back.
As the hearing of the PIL started, Yash Pal Sharma, Managing Director Medical Supplies Corporation apprise the Court about the steps taken for procuring necessary equipments for setting up of two food laboratories, one each at Srinagar and Jammu.
He submitted that, in view of the poor response to the earlier NIT (notice inviting tenders), the Corporation has floated fresh NIT and last date for receipt of documents has been fixed on September 26.
On June 10, the court had observed that a lot was required to be done by the government to alleviate the sufferings of the people due to food adulteration. It had ordered the government to make the two food testing laboratories functional by July 11.
Besides, the court had also directed government to fast-track appointment of technical manpower as per the Food Safety and Standard Act of 2006.
“The recruitment shall he made on fast track basis. The laboratories shall be fully equipped to make them functional,” the bench had said. It had also directed that Mobile Vans shall also be purchased and put to service.
“The authorities whosoever have been involved at different points of time in implementing the Food Safety and Standard Act of 2006 have exhibited only skin deep concern to the sufferings of people. The State authorities in order to ameliorate the lot of suffering people are required to show soul deep concern,” the court had observed during hearing in May.
“This is not the question of a small water body and its encroachment, which we can demolish and get back the water body. It concerns the health of all of us, rich and poor, ruler and the ruled. Everybody’s health is involved in this issue but there is sad state of affairs,” the court had said.
The chief secretary, B. R Sharma, who had appeared before the court had in fairness admitted that the FSSA 2006 has not been implemented in the manner it had to be implemented in the state. He, however had assured the court that he will immediately take review of the all aspects concerning the implementation of the FSSA. He had also assured that without waiting for the financial assistance from the government of India, funds for setting up “technologically advanced laboratories” both at Jammu and Srinagar would be immediately provided by the state and the labouratories will be established shortly.

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