SRINAGAR: Kashmir Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KCCI) on Thursday expressed concern over the “panic being spread in the food industry through raids, inspections, disproportionate penalties, and fines” in the name of Food Safety and Standards Act (FSSA).
In a statement issued here, the Chamber said while FSSA was in interest of the general public, it was prone to abuse “at the hands of those vested with the responsibility of its implementation”.
“Reports of harassment, high-handedness, and imposition of heavy penalties are, among other things, causing a fear psychosis in the business community and the suppliers from outside the state. Manufacturers and traders from outside are hesitant to do business in the state. If the situation is allowed to continue, the declining imports from outside the state would cause irreparable loss both to the state and to the private sector,” it said.
The KCCI said top international companies were unable to cope with the demands of the Food Authority of India, leading to a decline in import of food-products.
“This situation has prompted the government of India to set up a task force for helping companies to cope with the prevailing environment. Complaints of arm twisting and use of coercive methods by the department are being reported.
“Instances of deliberate contamination of samples, tampering of seals, use of faulty testing methods and equipment, and passing of toxic products in lieu of money has been reported in the national media,” the body said.