Jammu: The J&K high court has granted government the “last opportunity” to make the two food testing laboratories functional at Srinagar and Jammu.
A division bench of Justices Muzaffar Hussain Attar and Ali Mohammad Magrey also directed chairman Service Selection Board to appear in person before it if the selection of technical manpower for the laboratories was not completed by next date of hearing, posted in the week commencing from October 17.
Hearing a suo-moto Public Interest Litigation, the division bench rejected the compliance report filed by the Managing Director Medical Supplies Corporation in which he had “unsatisfactorily” revealed the steps taken for procuring necessary equipment for setting up of the laboratories.
The court said that it was not satisfied with the approach adopted by the MD and warned him of “appropriate action” if he failed to utilize the “last opportunity” to complete the process for procuring necessary equipments for the laboratories.
On September 9, the court had directed government to file status report by September 29 regarding steps taken to make the two food testing laboratories functional.
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, BR 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 laboratories will be established shortly.