Rashid Paul

HC raps authorities for failing to implement Food Safety laws

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Srinagar, Feb 20: The High Court Wednesday directed personal appearance of Commissioner Secretary Health, Commissioner Secretary ARI and Trainings department and Food Safety Commissioner for failing to make available manpower for ensuring execution of Food Safety Act in the state.

A division bench sought personal appearance of Commissioner Secretary Health, Commissioner Secretary ARI and Trainings and Food Safety Commissioner before the court on the next date of hearing as the directions with regard to the matter have not been complied with till date.

The bench was informed by the respondents that a sum of over Rs 18 crores has been spent in creating state of the art public laboratories in Srinagar and Jammu divisions for testing all kinds of food samples.

The court found that manpower to make these laboratories functional and utilize the facilities is not available. Only a few posts have been filled, whereas the important posts like lab technicians, instrumentation technicians for these labs remain vacant so far.

The court after perusing official information observed that seven Mobile Food Testing Vans have been acquired from Gujarat after spending crores of rupees.

“These vans also remain unutilized as, other than drivers, no technicians are available to man or utilize these vans for the required purpose,” it observed.

This position was however disputed by the respondent officials.

The court directed that various posts which have been created for manning laboratories as well as mobile vans, the status of their recruitment be disclosed on affidavit and be filed within three weeks.

If recruitment process has to be affected, the court asked the respondents to disclose the timeline within which it would be completed.

The court made it clear that in case the process of recruitment for any post is yet to commence, the respondents shall ensure that the necessary action towards issuance of the advertisement inviting applications is definitely completed within three weeks from today.

The process of selection shall be positively completed within a period of four months from the date of issuance of the advertisement, it directed.

The court was subsequently updated by the official lawyers that the recruitment process for the vacant posts could not be initiated for the reason that the matter regarding modification in the Recruitment Rules is pending with the ARI and Trainings department.

Further information suggested that the existing Recruitment Rules prescribe only promotion as the mode of recruitment. There are no existing officers in the feeding cadre who could be considered for promotion, it revealed.

“This matter shall be resolved by the Commissioner/Secretary to Government of J&K, ARI and Trainings department within a period of one week from today,” directed the court.

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