HC directs for ATR to curb food adulteration

Excelsior Correspondent
SRINAGAR, Feb 25: The High Court today directed the Government to report to the court indicating as to what action is being taken for checking of food items in order to curb the adulteration.
The direction followed after the court has been informed by senior advocate B A Bashir that the report of Food Commissioner itself reveals that how much non serious the authorities are in curbing the food adulteration.
He has drawn the attention of the court to the affidavit filed by Vinod Sharma presently posted as Commissioner Food and Drugs administration J&K. The report revealed that in Jammu division out of 38 lifted samples only 6 reports were received and these six samples were declared as misbranded and unsafe.
Advocate Bashir submitted before the division bench that this is the position with regard to only six samples what would be the result of remaining, the figure showed. In Kashmir division, only 9 samples have been lifted and only 3 samples were received but their results have not been mentioned.
The Commissioner in compliance of court directions and in order to monitor the production of different kinds of food items in J&K constituted two divisional level teams headed by the respective Deputy Commissioners of Food Safety to do the necessary surprise checking and monitoring of food items.
Both the Deputy Commissioners of Kashmir and Jammu submitted their reports to Food Commissioner and the inspections of both teams showed that in Jammu division 37 units were inspected, 7 units were found closed, 10 improvement notices have been issued, food articles worth Rs 13,21,400 seized, 2 food licenses suspended and 3 manufacturing units sealed.
In Kashmir division, inspection report revealed that 14 manufacturing units were inspected, 13 units have been issued notices, one unit has been sealed and one license suspended for violating the rules.
Senior counsel after this report, submitted to the bench that the matter in hand is safeguarding the life of the people from consuming adulterated and misbranded food items and authorities are not takeing effective steps in this regard for which the main reason is lack of manpower.
Principal Secretary to Government H&ME department has already submitted before the court that for further strengthening the Department of Food Safety, a new proposal of 306 posts of various designations has been sent to Finance Department for concurrence but it was returned for some clarification and thereafter has been sent back to the department and the same is still pending with the Finance Department.
Secretary of SSRB is under direction to file an affidavit as to how many posts have been received by the H&ME department for process of selection and if such posts are referred then he was directed to ensure that such posts are processed for selection.
Advocate Bashir further submitted in so far as the nature of amendment which is required is concerned and added the existing Recruitment Rules prescribe only promotion as the mode of recruitment, whereas, there are no existing officers in the feeding cadre who could be considered for promotion and in this view of the matter Commissioner/Secretary to Government of J&K, ARI, Training Department was under direction to resolve the issue within a period of one week.