KARACHI: One year after the passage of a law for provision of safe and hygienic food to the people, the provincial government finally activated the Sindh Food Authority on Monday, saying it would start function in one month from Karachi.
The Sindh Assembly had on March 8, 2017 passed into law the Sindh Food Authority Act, 2017.
Speaking at a press conference, Senior Sindh Minister Nisar Khuhro, who also holds the portfolio of food as well as parliamentary affairs, announced that Amjad Leghari, an additional secretary in the food department, had been appointed the director general of the food authority.
He said that the authority had been tasked to make necessary arrangements within one month to ensure availability of quality food items including dairy and bakery products, beef, mutton, vegetables, cooking oil and other edible items cooked in a hygienic environment in hotels and restaurants.
Disclosing details about activating the authority, he said although the area of operation of the authority would be the entire province, its operation would start from Karachi within a month.
Minister says the authority will cover other cities, towns later; first director general appointed
Without giving any time frame, he said other cities and towns of Sindh would be covered in the second phase.
Mr Khuhro said that the authority would ensure quality by starting checking of big and small hotels, restaurants, mega marts, department stores, food industries products, bakery items, dairy, meat and beef shops.
He said that besides imposing fines, cases would be registered against traders, manufacturers, hotel and restaurant owners and shopkeepers and they would be sent behind bars if merchandise was found unhygienic.
Mr Khuhro said that 523 merchandise items were included in the initial checklist and every food industry had to acquire a formal license for its business.
He said that licences of those found involved in unhygienic production of food items could be revoked.
He said that the Sindh government would not allow anyone to play with the health of the people by selling substandard articles.
Board of governors
Mr Khuhro also informed reporters about the composition of the authority’s board of governors.
He said the food minister would be the chairperson of the board, while food secretary would be the BoG’s convener. The Sindh health secretary would be the vice chairman of the BoG.
He said that three provincial legislators, a representative of the chamber of commerce, all deputy commissioners and secretaries of the culture, agriculture, social welfare, local government and public health engineering departments would be members of the authority’s BoG.
Later, the newly appointed DG Leghari told Dawn that the authority would be in action within a month since its staff would be sent for training.
He said during the staff’s training the authority would take necessary measures to create awareness among the people and the operators of food industries and manufacturers of other merchandise.
Also, Mr Khuhro told the press conference that the Sindh government had decided to procure 1.4 million tons wheat at the rate of Rs1,300 per 40 kilograms.
The purchase of wheat would start in April for which 500 centres had been set up in the province.
In reply to a question, the minister said that the government had also decided to build more warehouses to store wheat.
He said schemes for more warehouses were included in the annual development programme.
Published in Dawn, March 27th, 2018