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Tea stall owners in Ooty, Karaikudi allege harassment by FSOs despite injunction
Thursday, 03 May, 2012, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Akshay Kalbag, Mumbai
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There is a remarkable sense of irony in this tale. At a time when plans are afoot to make tea India's national drink, a couple of associations in Tamil Nadu, whose members earn their livelihood selling the ubiquitous brew, have reported incidents of Inspector Raj.

Mohamed Jaffar, president, Ooty Hotel Owners' Association and proprietor, Ooty Coffee House, said, "On April 30, all food business operators (FBOs) in Ooty shut shop for a day to protest against the attitude of D Sivakumar, food safety officer (FSO)."

"The response to our call for a bandh was terrific. In fact, even those who are not engaged in food business lent their support. On May 2, we met the collector and told him that the FSO was asking for a bribe. We want him transferred to another district at the earliest," he said.

Karaikudi

Meanwhile, a statement issued by the Karaikudi Town Tea Stall Owners' Welfare Association, informed FnB News that Selladurai, an FSO, visited the Old Bus Stand and harassed the tea stall owners.

"He ordered that all tea stalls in the town be sealed. He issued a photocopy of Form A for registration and collected Rs 200 per head from the proprietors of these establishments," it stated.

Apart from Chola Tea Stall Corner at Sekkalai Road, the other stalls whose owners were harassed were Devi Tea Stall (Sakthivel); Arumugam Tea Stall (Navarathinam); Tamilian Tea Stall (Boominathan), etc.

"Selladurai also seized packets of murrukku and other homemade snacks. Although the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court has granted the Tamil Nadu Chamber of Commerce an interim injunction on the Act, the FSOs continue to misuse their powers," the statement said.

"Dr Arulnambi, designated officer, Sivaganga District, is a gentleman and an honest official, but the food safety officers behave like police inspectors and take the law into their own hands." it concluded.
 
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