Even as the February 4 deadline for food business units to register themselves under the Food Safety and Standards Act 2011 is approaching, only 605 units of the district have applied for registration so far.
The government had earlier allowed the food business operators to get themselves registered under the act till February 4 this year, but it later extended the time-line to February 4, 2014.
The health department had issued 657 licenses to the applicants. To sensitise stakeholders several camps were also organised in various blocks of the district but to no avail.
However, district officials said that a series of meetings were conducted at the district and block levels to sensitise traders to the provisions of the act. The fear of traders was exaggerated, the officials said.
The eateries and canteens situated in schools and colleges of the district have shown reluctance in the registration and only five of the educational institutes had registered themselves in the district so far. More than 100 schools and colleges are there in the district and every institute has the provision of canteen and cafes.
Talking to HT, district health officer Dr Guriqbal Singh said that after February 4, we would initiate penal proceedings against the defaulters, which could also lead to sealing of the eateries.
“Despite our notices and intimations, schools, colleges and other eating joints had not responded. We have prepared a list of all eligible units after conducting a survey. Initially, we had planned to issue notices to these units but after the deadline is over, we will proceed under the provisions of law,” Singh said.
“We have also decided to organise camps for the registration of grocery shops, sweet owners and other eateries at block levels in the district as demanded by the people in a meeting held by the district authorities,” he said.
We would ensure that food supplied to people was safe by issuing licence to micro and small traders and other commercial establishments engaged in food businesses, preventing sale of food products hazardous to public health, creating awareness of food safety, and conducting surveillance, he said.
According to Food Safety and Standards Act 2011, food businesses with an annual turnover exceeding Rs 12 lakh require a licence while earning below that needs registration and milk sellers with 500 litre sale requires licence and below that needs registration. The registration fee is Rs 100, while it varies between Rs 2,000, 3,000 and Rs 5,000 for licence.
“There is a provision of fine up to Rs 5 lakh or imprisonment up to six months if an eatery is found running without a licence or a registration,” Dr Singh said.
Marriage palaces and caterers are also required to get themselves registered or be licenced from the food safety wing.
Block-wise registration so far
Kapurthala 200 200
Phagwara 150 85
Sultanpur Lodhi 150 50
Dhilwan, Nadala, Begowal 157 270