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Little joy, fear about Govt's handling of 17 pending cases against Act
Wednesday, 08 August, 2012, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Akshay Kalbag, Mumbai
When business resumed after the weekend the original deadline for registration (August 5, 2012) elapsed, food business operators, manufacturers and office-bearers of various trade associations in Madurai expressed mixed feelings about the six-month extension to it. P Subash Chandra Bose, vice-president, Tamil Nadu Foodgrains Merchants' Association (TNFMA), informed FnB News via e-mail, "There is little joy about the extension."

"There are more than 20 interim stays in various High Courts across the state. Recently the Madras High Court had vacated interim stays in three of those, following officials from the Centre. Though our argument was a perfect one, the High Court did not pay heed to it. We are afraid the government may follow the same tactics in the 17 pending ones also. However, we will continue filing writ petitions in the High Court," he said.

Bose said, "We had already lodged our objections and complaints before the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) over four months ago (on March 31, 2012). We had challenged almost all the standards for agri-food products and demanded real scientific refixation. We had asked FSSAI to come out with clear-cut decisions, but they had no clear ideas regarding pesticide residues."

He also spoke about the main bone of contention: the Sections in the Food Safety and Standards Regulations (FSSR), 2011, pertaining to penalties and fines. "The hefty fines and penalties need to be revised. This would pave the way for an amicable solution. But we hope these things happen in the next six months. Otherwise there won't be any compromise, and definitely the agitations against the Act would grow stronger and assume a worse position," Bose said.
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