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Monday, Aug 12, 2002

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World Bank-aided project to check food adulteration

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"The Centre is planning to set up computerised monitoring centres at various places including Hyderabad for ensuring proper implementation of the Act."


PARTICIPANTS at the two-day national conference on the Prevention of Food Adulteration (PFA) Act here were unanimous that implementation of the Act had been inadequate in safeguarding the health of people and that the authorities had not paid serious attention to the problem.

The conference, the first of its kind in the country, was held to mark the silver jubilee celebrations of the PFA Act enforcement in Andhra Pradesh and highlighted the need for the Central and State Governments to bestow greater attention to the issue by creating an awareness among people of the hazards of food adulteration with the help of NGOs and consumer organisations and bringing about suitable legislative and executive measures to deliver speedy and deterrent punishment to wrong-doers.

Dr S.R. Gupta, Assistant Director General of Health Services, said that as laying rules alone was insufficient to tackle the problem, Rs 200-crore project to be funded by the World Bank would be taken up soon. The money would be spent on renovating and strengthening various laboratories in States. This could result in reducing the time taken by the laboratories for testing samples. The Centre also had plans to use the fund to train 8,000 people including judicial officers to check the menace of food adulteration.

He said the Centre was planning to set up computerised monitoring centres at various places including Hyderabad for ensuring proper implementation of the Act.

Mr D.S. Chedda, Technical Advisor of CII, said that coordination among different stakeholders was the need of the hour. The food processing industry and the law should be upgraded to promote exports.

Mr Alok Srivastava, Inspector General of PFA Enforcement, stressed the need for more designated courts to expeditiously clear pending and new cases.

Dr M. Laxmiprasad Rao, Food (Health) Authority of AP, wanted that the present three-tier system of implementing the Act at the State, municipal and panchayat levels with no coordination among them should be done away with and that the municipal and panchayat bodies should be brought under the State authority for better monitoring of the activities.

Dr K. Sivaprasada Rao, Minister for Food and Civil Supplies, said presently less than 10 per cent of the adulterators were punished and it would serve the interests of people better if adulteration was checked at the manufacturing level.

Mr M. Babu Rao, Deputy Food Controller, said that in Andhra Pradesh the Act was implemented effectively. He suggested reconstitution of the Central Committee for Food Standards and the division of administration into five or six zones, each under the management of a committee. The zonal committees should coordinate their work with the central committee.

Creation of a chief executive office at the national-level would check the tardy implementation of the Act, he added.

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