IMPHAL, Jun 13 : Food Safety and Standards Enforcement Wing under the supervision of the Directorate of Health Services, Manipur has reportedly generated Rs 64,68,033 lakh revenue in the past 7 years. However, due to lack of manpower and infrastructure, numerous tasks could not be executed efficiently.
Speaking to The Sangai Express, Dr Sarungbam Bimolakumari, Consultant, Food Safety and Standards Enforcement Wing, said that food retailers and cooperators should ensure the food items they supply to the markets for consumption are safe and healthy for people.
“Between 2012 and 2017, Food Safety and Standards Enforcement Wing collected Rs 64,68,033 lakh as license and registration fee, Rs 12,71,000 lakh as penalty and Rs 65,32,500 lakh as food analysis fee. There is one District Designated Officer, 2 to 3 Food Safety Officers and 2 to 3 Office Assistants in 9 districts of the State. There are also some districts with not even a single official,” she informed.
One Tata Sumo vehicle each is provided for Imphal East, Imphal West and Bishnupur districts. The vehicles are utilized to conduct food anti-adulteration drives in stores and hotels and other related works.
She said that as part of the State Government’s 100-day programme, drives were conducted under the supervision of the Food Safety Commissioner in various parts of the State from May 28 and June 12 in which adulterated food items and tobacco products worth Rs 29,76,850 were disposed. There are still 4 rooms filled with seized tobacco and adulterated food items. If anyone is found selling banned food items, the individual can be jailed for 6 months along with upto Rs 5 lakh fine under Food Safety and Standard Act 2006.
“For 2017, budget of just Rs 35 lakh was sanctioned for Food Safety and Enforcement Wing. We have shortage of manpower and infrastructure which has hampered the overall performance. At times, we had to spend money from own pockets to ensure our work gets done,” she said.
One shopkeeper in Kwairamband Keithel said, “Earlier, Zarda Paan per serving used to cost Rs 5 but now it costs Rs 20. Special Paan which was Rs 100 per serving now costs Rs 150-200. Tobacco which comes in round tin now costs Rs 25 and above while Talab costs Rs 15 per sachet. Availability of banned products only allow the suppliers to earn more profit. I also used to sell Paan and tobacco products. Now I sell only Kom Kwa.”