Those dealing in food business in the state will no more have to visit the office of civil surgeon or district health officer to apply for registration or to obtain licence under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006, as the health department has launched an online facility for the purpose.
The department has already organised official training for its food safety officers and other health staff to facilitate people. A team of experts has also held an exercise for them in districts recently.
The health department would soon send computers, scanners and printers to the headquarters besides an operator who will be assigned by the department to handle online applications.
The food safety officers have been ordered not to entertain any application regarding food licence through offline mode this week.
For the online facility, applicants can log on to the designated website foodlicensing.fssai.gov.in, where they will have to register as users after furnishing details of the business. After that a fee has to be submitted as per the government order. Then, the applicant would have to fill up the form for seeking registration/issuance of licence and upload scanned copies of the required documents on the website.
Even after the facility goes online, applicants will also have to send documents and receipt through registered post to the office of district health officer.
After getting the application through online mode, health workers will visit the shops or manufacturing units for physical verification of the premises.
Food business operators with an annual turnover of above Rs 12 crore it is must to have a licence and those who earn less than Rs 12 crore a year must get a registration certificate, as per the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006.
Sources said till date, nearly 1,600 eateries have got licences and nearly 8,200 joints, including stall holders, hotels, restaurants, canteens, dhabas, food carts, sweetshops, tea stalls, grocery stores, meat sellers and milk sellers, have got themselves registered with the department.
Sources added that if the Centre has been continually putting pressure on the state health department to start online facility as eight states have already implemented this system.
They said due to general elections, the Centre had extended the deadline from February 4 to August 4. The health department would start issuing challans to those, who fail to enroll under this Act.
They added that earlier, the deadline for registration and getting licences were extended two times, from August 5, 2012, to February 4, 2013, and then from February 4, 2013, to February 4, 2014 and later to August 4.
"Once the code of conduct ends, the department will also publicise the online facility," they said.
Earlier, the district health officials held camps asking shopkeepers and other outlet owners to apply for licence or registration manually.
According to the Act that was implemented in August 2011, a food business with an annual turnover exceeding Rs 12 lakh requires a licence, while those earning below that need registration only.
The fee for registration is Rs 100, and for a licence it varies from Rs 2,000-Rs 3,000 and Rs 5,000 depending on the category of the business.
When contacted, state food safety commissioner Hussan Lal said, "As of now, application for licence will be taken through online facility and after few weeks application for registration will also be accepted online."