Govt decides to stop daily testing exercise; Surprise checks at markets
PANJIM: After an over a month-long daily exercise of testing fish samples for formalin, the State government has decided to restrict the drive to random checks.
“If there is constant check, one cannot work. However, we have to be cautious,” Health Minister Vishwajit Rane told reporters on Monday about the proposal with the government.
Food & Drugs Administration (FDA) officials have been conducting daily checks of fish samples imported in trucks from across the borders from August 3 midnight, after the government lifted ban on the import of fish.
The department officials, Rane said, are equipped with spot analysis check and will also conduct random and surprise checks at fish markets too. “FDA has lots of activities on a daily basis, and there is also a proposal wherein related departments can be deployed to assist FDA,” he said, indicating random checks will to a certain extent resolve the staff shortage problem at FDA.
Herald had reported last week that FDA was experiencing a shortage of food inspectors and had requested Directorate of Transport to assist them in testing fish at the two check posts. If the proposal is accepted, Regional Transport Office (RTO) inspectors will test the fish although the Transport Department is not very keen on the proposal.
The government is also contemplating a 15-day extension to non-Goan fish traders to obtain licences from the State FDA.
It has almost been a month since the government had said that fish traders operating from outside the State and involved in transporting fish to Goa should obtain licences from the State FDA but none have either registered for or possess a licence till dare. The minister said that after the extension, if the traders still do not possess the document, action will be taken as per FSSAI guidelines.
He also slammed ‘self proclaimed activists and experts’ for creating panic among the people on the issue.
Rane was also asked on alleged anti-party activities to which he said, “Any person will float any news. I believe one has to be calm and I am doing so. I am focused in my work. Until CM has faith in me I don’t have to prove to anybody. Those who cannot digest the good work I am doing are floating such rumours.”