Online food licensing facility gets tepid response in Jalandhar dist

  • Jatinder Kohli, Hindustan Times, Jalandhar
  • Updated: Jun 06, 2014 15:09 IST

The much-hyped online facility to get food licences has received a tepid response from food-business operators so far in the district since its launch on March 26 this year.

Details gathered from the health department reveal that only 55 registrations and 47 licences have been issued in the district so far.

The manual issuing of registrations and licences has already been stopped after the online facility was started.

Officials are of the view that food-business operators such as vendors hesitate applying online since it is more complex than the manual process and also most of them are not familiar with computers.

The higher authorities have also not given computers to foodsafety officers or other staff to handle online applications, they said, adding that some of the staff had also been using their own laptops for these services.

Moreover, officials are mulling over to launch a separate counter at the suwidha centre in the district administrative complex so that people could apply easily rather than going to the civil surgeon’s office.

The food-business operators, they added, were of the opinion that the central gover nment would extend the deadline for registration and getting licences which has been fixed on August 4.

If the government did not extend the date, the department would start issuing challans to violators, officials said.

Before launching the online facility, about 1,600 eateries had got licences and some 8,200 stall holders, hotels, restaurants, canteens, dhabas, food carts, sweetshops, tea stalls, grocery stores, meat sellers and milk sellers etc had got registered with the department.
The department had organised training for its food safety officers and other health staff to help people and assured to them it would soon send computers, scanners and printers to the headquarters besides an operator who will handle online applications, but nothing has been done as yet.

About lukewarm response, district health officer Dr Balwinder Singh said, “We are trying our level best to motivate food-business operators to come for mandatory registration, but to no avail.”

For the online facility, the applicants can log on to the designated website where they will have to register as users after furnishing details of their business. After this, they will have submit fee amount as per the government order. Then, the applicant will have to fill the form for seeking registration/ issuance of licence and upload scanned copies of the required documents on the website.

After getting the application online, health workers will visit the shop or the unit for physical verification.

As per the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006, it is mandatory to have a licence for food-business operators with an annual turnover of above Rs 12 crore a year while those earning less than this must get a registration certificate.

The registration fee is Rs 100 and the licence fee is from Rs 2,000, Rs 3,000 and Rs 5,000 depending on the category of business.

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