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Food safety not a concern for GHMC poll candidates

HYDERABAD: The year 2015 was a year which left the hapless denizens of the city with no alternative but to consume unsafe foods and fruits.
However, in the wake of the upcoming elections to the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC), every political banner has come out with a manifesto, which they have dubbed as a peoples’ manifesto. Unfortunately, not a single one of them speaks about the need to cut down adulterants in the food people eat.
The manifesto released by the ru ling Telangana Rashtra Samithi, speaks volumes about making Hyderabad a global city, with state-of-the-art water supply and wifi in every part of the city. But, food safety experts note that there has not been a single mention about ensuring that the people of the city, get unadulterated food to eat.
Similarly, even the Happy Hyderabad Manifesto, released by the BJPTDP coalition, fails to make a mention of this issue. Rather than focussing on issues that are tailor-made for the city, this particular manifesto speaks about setting up a railway network, which does not fall in the civic body’s purview. Not just that, this particular manifesto, compares the development of Gujarat to the city of Hyderabad. “This kind of development is only possible with the Bharatiya Janata Party in power,” it reads.
“The manifestos released by all the major political parties, have made notes about what they can do to make Hyderabad a better and happi er city . But, not a single one of them speaks particularly about strengthening the food safety act or the prohibition of food adulteration act. There is very less focus on this matter,” said noted agriculturalist, G V Ramanjenayulu.
The matters escalated to such an extent even the Hyderabad High Court, had taken cognisance of the matter, in August last year. Where it had asked the Telangana Government to initiate steps to curb this menace.
“As a first step to curb this menace, the city must have more food inspectors, who can lift samples. While the requirement is of 25 inspectors, the GHMC has no more than four inspectors who are handling the charge,” said a senior official from the Nutrition Society of India, requesting anonymity .
He further added that the civic authorities need to step up the checks to prevent foods from being adulterated. “But to step up the checks, they would need more staff,” he added.
According to the M Prasada Rao committee’s recommendations on rationalisation of staffing patterns in the GHMC, a city as expansive as Hyderabad requires as many as 25 food inspectors and more people to lift samples at the circle level.
“If the political parties do not mention anything about food adulteration in their manifestos, the electorate cannot take them upto task if they fail to implement it, once they are elected,” said M Padmanabha Reddy, a member of Telangana Election Watch.

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