Even though the deadline for registration of eateries and other establishments dealing in food products, under the Food Safety and Standard Act (FSA), is approaching on February 4, none of liquor vendors and arhtiyas (wheat and paddy) has registered himself with the health department so far in the district.
The district, which has around 838 liquor vendors in the district as per the records, seemed to have failed to show any interest towards mandatory compliance under the Food Safety and Standards (Licensing and Registration of Food Business) Regulations 2011.
The commission agents deal with sale and purchase of wheat and paddy, numbering nearly 1,300-1,400 in the district, have also yet to apply for registration and licence under this Act.
Nearly 500 commission agents, who deal with sale and purchase of vegetables in the district, have also not shown any interest towards the Act as only 10-15 agents of this category applied to the health department.
In the first week of January, Hussan Lal, state food safety commissioner, had written to district health officers and state excise and taxation commissioner Anurag Verma to ask liquor vendors to come up for the registration under the Act as liquor comes under its provisions but no avail.
Sources said that if the central government does not extend deadline after February 4, the health department would start issuing challans to those, who fail to enroll themselves under this Act.
They said that earlier, the deadlines for registration and getting licences were extended two times, first from August 5, 2012 to February 4, 2013 and from February 4, 2013 to February 4, 2014 as the health department did not receive the expected number of applications from these category keeping in view the number of chemist shops in the district.
Sources said that till date, nearly 1,530 eateries have got licences and nearly 8,100 joints, including stall holders, hotels, restaurants, canteens, dhabas, food cats, sweetshops, tea stalls, grocery stores, meat sellers, milk sellers have got themselves registered with the department.
"It is strange that the district health officials, who are holding camps, asking shopkeepers and other outlet owners to apply for licence or registration, have forgotten to ask liquor vendors and commission agents," said an officer of the health department on the condition of anonymity.
According to the Act, implemented in August 2011, a food business with an annual turnover exceeding `12 lakh requires a licence, while those earning below that need registration only.
The fee for registration is just `100, and for a licence it varies from `2,000-3,000 and `5,000 depending on the category of the business.
When contacted, civil surgeon Dr RL Bassan said that they have received a letter of liquor vendors are also to be registered under this Act this month and within a day we would hold a meeting with the excise and taxation department to immediately ask vendors to apply under this Act.
On commission agents, Bassan said, "I would talk with thedistrict health officer into this regard".