Six districts without food inspectors


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Six districts without food inspectors

  1. 1. Six districts without food inspectors Tribune News Service Sirsa, June 22 Sampling of food items has been slack throughout the state in the past mainly due to the shortage of government food inspectors (GFIs) and sometimes due to the reluctance of government doctors to perform the onerous duty of accompanying the GFIs to raids for collecting samples and then having to visit courts for evidence. Six districts of the state have been doing without GFIs and the inspectors of other districts have been looking after these districts, along with their own districts. With such large areas to inspect, the GFIs cannot be expected to collect samples of food items with an efficacy that could deter adulterators effectively. A recent notification issued by the state government has tried to address the issue, although its effectiveness is yet to be seen. In the exercise of powers conferred by Sub-section (1) of Section 9 of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954, (Act 37 of 1954), and in supersession of the government, Health Department, notification number 34/71/87-2 HBII, dated February 26, 1991, the state government has appointed some government doctors posted in the state headquarters or at district, sub-division or community health centre-level as food inspectors for the areas of their respective jurisdiction. The director-general of health services, Haryana, will exercise powers of food inspector within the state except railway station and railway colonies. The Indian Railways have their own set of officers for the purpose. According to the notification, civil surgeons and all deputy civil surgeons posted at district levels will exercise powers of food inspectors in the local areas comprised within the districts of their respective postings. Similarly, the senior medical officers (SMOs) posted in the sub-divisional hospitals and community health centres (CHCs) will exercise these powers in the local areas comprised within respective jurisdiction of their CHC or sub-division, respectively. Where SMOs are not posted at the CHCs or sub-divisional hospitals, the medical officers posted as in charge of such CHCs and hospitals will exercise powers of food inspectors, according to the notification. However, a section in the Health Department is sceptical about the success of the move of the government as they maintain that the GFIs not only take samples, but also stand in the shoes of public prosecutors, when the cases of adulterators are taken to the courts.
  2. 2. “Senior government doctors are not expected of taking the trouble of following the cases in the courts for years,” said an official of the department. Anuradha Gupta, financial commissioner and principal secretary, Haryana, however, said these were merely enabling provisions and the doctor so empowered should not be construed as substitute for the GFIs. She said by vesting the powers of food inspectors in doctors, they would be in a position to take samples, where urgency demanded and the GFIs were not immediately available. She added that powers of district health officers would be divided in many officers instead of the earlier practice of one officer.