Food and civil supplies minister Girish Bapat has announced a high-level enquiry against food and drugs administration (FDA) officials allegedly shielding Haldiram Foods. He also agreed to get the milk samples of Haldiram tested outside the state.

Dhananjay Munde, leader of opposition in the legislative council, had raised the issue of Haldiram through a calling attention motion. He alleged that despite concrete evidence against Haldiram, Nagpur FDA officials had not taken any action against the company.

“Seven types of tests were to be done on Haldiram milk samples. Although the laboratory stated in its report that it could not perform two tests due to lack of equipment, the officials told the government that all the tests had been performed. This clearly shows that they are hand in glove with Haldiram,” he said.

Munde further said that even though there was a provision of fine up to Rs5 lakhs, Haldiram was fined only Rs20,000 in several cases. “Eight defective samples were found but no action was taken. The government should conduct an in depth enquiry and take action against the guilty officials,” he added.

Bapat announced that the principal secretary (FDA) would be asked to conduct an enquiry into the matter. “We will get the samples tested wherever you want, even outside the country,” he said.

Munde then demanded that the samples taken from Haldiram in 2017 should be retested and the report be tabled in the house. Bapat told the house that eight milk samples of the company had been tested in 2017 and all were found to be okay. “Still if you want I will get them retested,” he added.

Congress MLC Sanjay Datt demanded that an international-level laboratory be set up in the state to test food products. “The government should also fill up vacant posts in FDA”.

Bapat replied that the central government had sanctioned Rs136 crores for setting up high-quality laboratories in the state. “The buildings of laboratories at Nagpur and Aurangabad are almost ready. My ministry has submitted a proposal for approval of their staffing pattern to the state government. I expect to get it soon. We will then recruit staff”.

Courtesy: Press Information Bureau

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