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FDA noose around PAL

india Updated: Apr 29, 2010 17:26 IST
Darpan Singh
Darpan Singh
Hindustan Times
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The truth is out, finally. In an apparent acknowledgement of the fact that Lucknow’s Public Analyst Lab (PAL) has been letting adulterators off the hook, putting public health at great risk, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is putting all PAL activities under CCTV watch.

A controlled access system is also being introduced to keep ‘dalals’ (middlemen) — who get sample testing done in their favour after ‘negotiations’ — away from UP’s biggest government lab of its kind.

“We have begun installation of as many as 13 CCTV cameras. This will help check gossiping, politicking and undue activities, indulged in by some analysts. The idea is to ensure a better work culture,” FDA’s special secretary Captain SK Dwivedi told HT on Wednesday.

The top official admitted that PAL was FDA’s weakest link when the food and drug authority came into being. He said, “Shady people do approach the lab and get sample testing done in their favour after ‘negotiations.’ The access control system will check this. A thumb impression system for those trying to get into the lab will ensure entry of middlemen is banned forever.”

Once the cameras are installed, FDA bosses will be able to monitor PAL activities from Bapu Bhavan.

Reacting to apprehensions, Dwivedi said, “It’s not a nee-jerk reaction. After three months of deliberations, we have decided to effect these changes. We’re not making anything public.” “It’s just in-house monitoring aimed at ensuring efficient functioning of the lab. No body should feel jittery,” the FDA official added.

The FDA is looking at upgrading the lab to international standards. “We’re going for the prestigious NABL lab accreditation after the current modernization process is over. These changes are only the beginning. All analysts will soon start wearing white aprons,” Dwivedi said.