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Monday, July 14, 2014

ഭക്ഷ്യസുരക്ഷാ സര്‍ക്കിള്‍ ഓഫീസ്: തീരുമാനം നീളുന്നു

തിരു: സംസ്ഥാനത്തെ 140 നിയമസഭാ നിയോജക മണ്ഡലങ്ങളിലും ഭക്ഷ്യസുരക്ഷാ സര്‍ക്കിള്‍ ഓഫീസുകള്‍ സ്ഥാപിക്കുന്നതിനുള്ള തീരുമാനം നീളുന്നു. നിയമസഭാ വിഷയനിര്‍ണയ സമിതിയുടെ 2013 ഡിസംബറിലെ ശുപാര്‍ശപ്രകാരം ജൂണ്‍ 30നകം മുഴുവന്‍ നിയമസഭാ മണ്ഡലങ്ങളിലും ഭക്ഷ്യ സുരക്ഷാ ഓഫീസുകള്‍ സ്ഥാപിക്കുമെന്ന് ഉത്തരവിറക്കിയിരുന്നു. എന്നാല്‍, ഭൂരിപക്ഷം മണ്ഡലങ്ങളിലും ഓഫീസ് കണ്ടെത്താന്‍പോലുമായിട്ടില്ല. മുഴുവന്‍ മണ്ഡലങ്ങളിലെയും ഓഫീസുകള്‍ ഒരുമിച്ച് ഉദ്ഘാടനംചെയ്യുമെന്നാണ് പ്രഖ്യാപനമെങ്കിലും ഇത് എന്ന് നടക്കുമെന്ന് ഉറപ്പില്ല.
ഓഫീസ് ഏറ്റെടുത്ത് അക്കൗണ്ടന്റ് ജനറലിന്റെ അനുമതി നേടിയേ പ്രവര്‍ത്തനം തുടങ്ങാനാവൂ. എന്നാല്‍, സര്‍ക്കാര്‍ ഓഫീസിന് വാടകയ്ക്ക് കെട്ടിടം നല്‍കാന്‍ ആളുകള്‍ മടിക്കുന്നു. സര്‍ക്കാരിനാകട്ടെ സ്വന്തം നിലയ്ക്ക് സ്ഥലം കണ്ടെത്താനും കഴിയുന്നില്ല. ഭക്ഷ്യസുരക്ഷാ നിയമം നടപ്പാക്കുന്നതിന്റെ ഭാഗമായി മുനിസിപ്പാലിറ്റികളിലും കോര്‍പറേഷനുകളിലുമുണ്ടായിരുന്ന ഫുഡ് ഇന്‍സ്‌പെക്ടര്‍മാരെ ഭക്ഷ്യ സുരക്ഷാ ഓഫീസര്‍മാരായി മാറ്റി നിയമിക്കുകയും സെക്ഷന്‍ ഓഫീസുകളുടെ ചുമതലക്കാരായി തീരുമാനിക്കുകയും ചെയ്തുവെങ്കിലും ഓഫീസുകള്‍ യാഥാര്‍ഥ്യമാകാത്തതിനാല്‍ ഇവര്‍ രണ്ടാംതരക്കാരെപ്പോലെ വിവേചനം നേരിടുകയാണ്. നിലവിലുള്ള ഏതെങ്കിലും സര്‍ക്കിള്‍ ഓഫീസിലാണ് ഇവര്‍ ജോലിചെയ്യുന്നതെങ്കിലും പലയിടത്തും കസേരപോലുമില്ല. സാമ്പിള്‍ ശേഖരണത്തിനടക്കമുള്ള ചെലവും ലഭിക്കുന്നില്ല. ശമ്പളം പോലും നേരിട്ട് കിട്ടുന്നില്ല. ജില്ലാ ഭക്ഷ്യസുരക്ഷാ ഓഫീസര്‍മാര്‍ ശമ്പളം വാങ്ങി നല്‍കേണ്ട സ്ഥിതിയാണ്. മറ്റ് ചെലവുകള്‍ക്കും നടപടിയായിട്ടില്ല.
140 മണ്ഡലത്തിലെയും സുരക്ഷാ ഓഫീസര്‍മാരില്‍ എഴപതോളം പേരുടെ കുറവ് നിലവിലുണ്ട്. ഒഴിവുകള്‍ പിഎസ്സിക്ക് റിപ്പോര്‍ട്ട് ചെയ്തിട്ടുമില്ല. സര്‍ക്കിള്‍ ഓഫീസുകളില്‍ ക്ലര്‍ക്ക്, പ്യൂണ്‍ തസ്തികളിലേക്കും നിയമനം നടക്കുന്നില്ല. നിലവില്‍ ഭക്ഷ്യസുരക്ഷ സംബന്ധിച്ച് ജനം പരാതിപ്പെടുന്നത് വര്‍ധിച്ച സാഹചര്യത്തില്‍ പിടിപ്പത് ജോലിയാണ് ഈ വിഭാഗത്തിനുള്ളത്. ജോയിന്റ് കമീഷണര്‍ (എന്‍ഫോഴ്‌സ്‌മെന്റ്) നിയമനവും അനിശ്ചിതമായി നീളുകയാണ്.
Source:http://www.deshabhimani.com

Despite Govt Assurance in House, Food Safety Dept Yet to Fill Posts

KOLLAM: The Food Safety Department, which ensures the hygiene of eateries, is compromising its functions as more than half of its field-level officers are yet to be appointed. Against the 140 Food Safety Officers (FSO) required, the department has so far appointed only 60 officers.
After the death of Sachin Roy Mathew in July 2012, after eating a stale shawarma from an eatery in Thiruvananthapuram, and subsequent closure of unhygienic eateries across the state, the public became aware of the importance of this department.
An Assembly Committee chaired by M Ummer had warned the government in April 2013 that the Food Safety Department was facing staff shortage and it would hamper the very functioning of the department. It was this committee which suggested the government to take immediate steps to appoint FSOs in each constituency. But it has been one year now and the government failed to take any action based on this.
In June 2014, Health Minister V S Sivakumar told the Assembly that Food Safety Offices would be opened in all 140 Assembly Constituencies by June 30.
But an RTI query filed by T R Ananthanarayanan, vice-president, Kerala Food Technologists Association (KEFTA), revealed that the government has still not kept its word.
In response to the RTI query on July 7, the department said that there were currently 80 vacancies of FSOs in the state and it was not reported to the PSC, as confusion prevails over the educational qualifications required and they were awaiting a final decision from the government.
When Express inquired this matter with the Commissionerate of Food Safety, an official said that the confusion was over the educational qualification mentioned in the Government Order (GO) dated December 3, 2013 from the Department of Health and Family Welfare.
The GO mentions the qualifications and method of appointment for the Joint Commissioner of Food Safety, Assistant Commissioner of Food Safety and Food Safety Officer.
“An infinitesimal error in one of the posts was the reason behind the delay and when it was noted, we forwarded it to the department concerned and all the confusions were sorted out. If it goes uncorrected to the PSC, it might lead to further complications. We think that this muddle could be solved within a week. The ball is in the court of the Health Department now,” said an official, on the conditions of anonymity.
The infinite delay in reporting FSO vacancies to the PSC is debilitating the spirit of thousands of eligible candidates in the state.
“This delay, which could be purposefully made, would pave way for backdoor entries, most probably ineligible entries, for the FSO posts, which is the entry level post to the Food Safety Department,” an official said.
“Some quarters in the Department is against reporting vacancies to the PSC and are favouring backdoor entries. We strongly believe that it is for helping Junior Health Inspectors (JHI) or Health Inspectors (HI), who don’t have minimum qualification to become FSOs,” said an officer, on the conditions of anonymity.
The officer also said that the JHIs and HIs were busy collecting degrees from distance education universities to make themselves eligible for the FSO posts and termed the Health Minister’s directive to open Food Safety offices in all constituencies as a ‘bolt from the blue’.
“We don’t know how we can open Food Safety Offices in all constituencies. First of all, adequate number of FSOs are not there in each district and secondly, the Department is not taking any initiative to report the vacancies to the PSC,” said a highly placed source.
It was found that under the district Food Safety Department, there were 11 circles and the number of FSOs were five. The same is the case in other districts. Staff shortage is affecting the objective of the Department, which was created for the implementation of the Food Safety and Standards Act (FSSA), 2006.
According to sources, the stand taken by the Food Safety Department is a clear violation of the directive given by the Department of Personnel and Administrative Reforms (P&ARD).
The P&ARD, in a GO on February 2014, strictly instructed all departments to report vacancies to the PSC in a systematic manner.
The KEFTA alleged that six retired employees had been appointed in various districts to assist the FSOs there, instead of appointing full time FSOs, which is against the directive of the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI).
“The way in which the matter is being handled by the Food Safety Department will destroy the eagerness of youth to join  service. Thousands of eligible candidates are waiting for a call from the PSC. But it seems to us that the department is interested in backdoor appointments,” Jaffar, state general secretary, KEFTA, said.
He also said that the current FSOs would retire in a short period of time and the dilly-dally attitude of the department in reporting vacancies would lead to a big crisis.
“It is an irony that Kerala was the first to establish the Commissionerate of Food Safety to implement the FSSA- 2006 but it still falls behind other states, when it comes to recruitment of FSOs through the PSC,” he said.
Source:http://www.newindianexpress.com