Despite getting an extension on the deadline for online registration under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006, about 40% vendors in the district are yet to get themselves registered with the district health department.
The deadline for registration has been extended thrice in the past one-and-a-half year. After the expiry of the previous deadline on August 4, the health department had further extended the deadline to February 4, 2016.
However, sources in the health department said that only around 1,000 registrations have been made and 260 licences have been issued in the district through the online portal over the past 19 months.
There are about 20,000 eateries in the district, but as many as 8,000 food operators are operating without proper licences and are violating safety norms.
The department had stopped issuing manual registration and licences after the facility for online registration was started in the district in 2014. As per details, before the launch of the online facility, 848 eateries had got licences and 9,543 food operators, including kiosks, hotels, restaurants, dhabas, sweetmeat shops, canteens, tea stalls, meat sellers, milk sellers and grocery stores, had got themselves registrated under the act.
Officials in the health department said that food operators such as local vendors and eateries hesitate to apply online as the process is more complex than the manual process and most are not familiar with the use of computers.
Moreover, there is no provision of fine against violators as the state government had extended the deadline for applying. “If the government did not extend the date, we could have started issuing challans to violators,” said a senior health official, on the condition of anonymity.
District health officer Rajpal Singh said, “We are doing our level best to create awareness and motivate food operators to get registered under the act. But there is no fear of fine among people.”
The Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006, states that food operators who have an annual turnover of above `12 lakh should have mandatory licences while the remaining operators should get a registration certificate, to ensure availability of safe and wholesome food for human consumption.
The registration fee per applicant is Rs 100. To get a licence under act, the applicants have to pay `2,000, `3,000 or `5,000, depending on the kind of business.
An applicant can log on to the government website http://foodlicensing.fssai.gov.in/and can register with the health department after furnishing complete details of the business and submitting the fee amount.
Later, applicants will have to fill in a form seeking issuance of a licence or registration certificate and upload scanned copies of documents on the website.
After completing the online process, health officials will visit the shop or eatery for physical verification.