Hyderabad: After cracking the whip against hotels and restaurants for using unstamped meat and other violations, Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) is now coming up with an exclusive mobile app for effective monitoring of the eateries in the city.
Hyderabad Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board (HMWSSB) and Police Departments will also have access to this mobile app. As per rules, hotels and restaurants are supposed to follow prescribed guidelines but the majority of the managements, especially the biryani joints do not adhere to them, officials said.
For effective monitoring of the hotels and restaurants, the mobile app is being launched by the civic body. Apart from the GHMC, the HMWSSB and police department will be conducting joint inspections and take photographs of hotel premises being investigated. A database of the hotels will be maintained along with violations and penalties levied on them. If the managements continue to violate the rules repeatedly, the licence of such hotels will be cancelled, said GHMC Commissioner B Janardhan Reddy.
One of the major violations being made by hotels managements is not establishing silt chambers. Despite, the HWMSSB repeatedly instructing the managements to establish silt chambers to prevent trash from entering the sewer lines, not many were found to comply with the norms. This practice is not only choking the sewer lines and but is also damaging the roads as the water stagnates on the roads.
GHMC food safety officials have been regularly conducting inspections and levying penalties on the violators. Since March to June this year, officials inspected 373 hotels and levied penalties worth over Rs 16 lakh against 208 managements.
However, there was no uniformity in the penalties being levied by the officials. Recently, the GHMC has also finalised the penalty rates for different violations.
More food inspectors, labs required
The arrest of a State Food Laboratory senior official and a few others over allegedly conniving to change a food analysis report has doubts being raised over the authenticity of these reports.
For the entire State, there is only one State Food Laboratory at Nacharam.
“This arrest has exposed the irregularities in issuing reports, besides raising doubts and it needs to be addressed at the earliest”, said Centre for Good Governance Secretary Padmanabha Reddy. More labs need to be set up in the city to check the quality of food served at eateries, he said while advocating that the samples should be analysed by two labs to curb any possible irregularity.
The dearth of food inspectors has been hampering effective monitoring on the hotels and restaurants in the city. As per rules, each municipal circle needs to have one food inspector but presently there are just five of them for entire GHMC jurisdiction.
However, the State government has permitted recruitment of 26 Food Safety Officers and the process of their recruitment has been handed over to TSPSC, said a senior official from GHMC.
Putting an end to corruption
Adulteration of food stuff is a crime punishable under sec. 59 of Food Safety and Standard Act 2006 with the punishment of imprisonment for life and fine up to Rs10 lakh.
Citing the recent case in which a case was registered both against bribe givers and bribe takers, the bureau said a restaurant owner and his staff was also arrested for giving bribes to have food analysis report.
The ACB statement said that whoever demands mamools/bribes will be booked under Prevention of Corruption Act and asked those forced to pay bribes to inform the same to the bureau officials who would be available round the clock.
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