Srinagar, Feb 18: Kash-mir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) president Mushtaq Wani has expressed serious concern over the “panic being spread” in the food industry by the raids, inspections and disproportionate penalties and fines being carried out in the name of Food Safety and Standards (FSS) Act.
In a statement issued here, Wani while appreciating the need for regulation of the food business and the need for providing edible and standard quality of food product expressed dismay at the manner in which the concerned Department was implementing the FSS Act.
“The FSS Act was in the interest of the general public but the Chamber cautioned that the same was prone to abuse at the hands of those vested with the responsibility of its implementation,” he said.
Wani said top international companies have been unable to cope with the demands of the Food Authority of India. “This has led to a decline in import of food products and heavy litigation. This situation has prompted the Central Government to set up a task force for helping companies to cope with the prevailing environment. Compla-ints of arm twisting and use of coercive methods by the Department are being reported,” he said.
“Instances of deliberate contamination of samples, tampering of seals, use of faulty testing methods and equipment, and passing of toxic products in lieu of money have been reported in the national media,” the Chamber president said.
He said in Kashmir too, reports of harassment and high handedness, imposition of heavy penalties, among other things are causing a fear psychosis amongst the business community as also the suppliers from outside the State.
“Manufacturers and traders from outside are hesitant in doing business in the State. If the situation is allowed to continue, the declining imports from outside the State would cause irreparable loss both to the State and the private sector as well,” he added.