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Posted at: May 15, 2016, 12:56 AM; last updated: May 15, 2016, 12:56 AM (IST)

Food Safety Act not implemented in letter and spirit, concedes govt

Assures High Court of immediate upgrade of two food-testing laboratories

Tribune News Service

Srinagar, May 14

Conceding that the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006, has not been implemented in letter and spirit, the government today assured the High Court that immediate steps would be taken for upgrade of the two outdated food-testing laboratories in Jammu and Srinagar without waiting for Central assistance.

A statement to this effect was made today by Chief Secretary BR Sharma before a Division Bench of the High Court, who along with other top bureaucrats, including Commissioner Secretaries for Health, Finance and Planning, was asked to be present in court today.

“Now that the Chief Secretary has given an assurance, we take it on record and trust him. Let them first upgrade the two outdated food-testing laboratories and provide two mobile testing laboratories,” stated a Division Bench of Justices Muzaffar Hussain Attar and Ali Mohammad Magrey.

The observation followed an assurance by the Chief Secretary in the open court that he would “immediately take review of all aspects” concerning implementation of the J&K Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006.

Sharma termed the issues involved as a “matter of great concern” and assured the court that that “without waiting” for financial assistance from the Centre, funds for setting up technologically advanced laboratories in Jammu and Srinagar would be “immediately provided” by the state and laboratories established shortly.

He further assured the High Court that mobile testing laboratories would be provided to the department. “In view of the assurance given by the Chief Secretary, we defer recommending initiation of disciplinary action against the authorities who failed to implement the Act till date,” said the High Court in its orders.

Earlier, in its observations, the Bench said it was not a question of some small water body and encroachment on it which could be removed and the water body restored. “This is dealing with the health of the state, the rich and poor, the ruler and ruled. Everybody’s health is involved in this issue,” it said.


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