HC warns Govt over food adulteration

Excelsior Correspondent
SRINAGAR, June 4: The High Court today directed the Government to comply with the court directions on curbing the food adulteration menace or face appropriate orders.
The Division Bench of Acting Chief Justice Alok Aradhe and Justice M K Hanjura while hearing suo moto proceedings on food adulteration in the State, directed the authorities to positively comply with the Court directions passed on February 28 or Court shall be compelled to pass appropriate orders.
“…the direction contained in paragraph No. 4 of the order dated 28.02.2018 shall also positively be complied with by or before the next date of hearing, failing which, this Court shall be constrained to pass appropriate orders against the concerned respondents”, the DB directed.
Meanwhile, in compliance with court order passed on May 30, Commissioner of Food Safety was present in person before the Court who fairly admitted that a lot is yet to be done in curbing the menace of food adulteration in the State and the same will be taken into consideration in a phased manner.
The FSC also submitted a detailed suggestions and the difficulties in writing before the court which are being faced by him. Court has taken the suggestions on record.
Amicus curie and senior advocate B A Bashir during the proceedings also apprised the court that nothing has been achieved in the PIL except procurement of equipments for food testing laboratories and there is a dearth of manpower in the whole department.
He informed the court that substandard food items are being supplied in the market at the cost of lives of people and Government is watching all this as a mute spectator. He suggested the court that Chief Secretary be summoned on each and every hearing in view of importance involved in the PIL and responsibility be fixed on him in dealing with the situation.
Instead of summoning the CS before the court, State Counsel M I Dar submitted  that the Chief Secretary, shall look into the suggestions and the difficulties being faced by the Commissioner, Food Safety for implementation of the Act and shall take adequate steps to redress the grievances submitted by the FSC.
Court in its order of February 28 had directed the Government to take all necessary steps for filling up of the post in question along with strength of staff within three weeks.
Commissioner Secretary to Health Department has already submitted before the bench that Government has sanctioned about 14 posts as support staff to the FSC but only three posts have been cleared by the Finance Department and which, according to him, would not be enough for FSC to make the office functional and work properly.
Senior advocate B A Bashir also pointed out that it is very difficult for them to take the samples from every district and to get these samples tested in food testing laboratories  in Srinagar or in Jammu. He suggested that if primary labs should be formed in every district out of all 22 districts so that primary testing of lifted samples be done at primary level.