Chandigarh, March 4: The Punjab Vigilance Bureau has registered a vigilance enquiry on the basis of reliable information to probe the malpractices in collection, testing and keeping records of samples of food items in the state.

Disclosing this here today, Chief Director-cum-DGP Vigilance Bureau Punjab B.K. Uppal said the health and food departments collects samples of eatable items for the purpose of checking and analysing its adulteration. “But it has came to light that all samples of food items were not sent to the laboratory for analysis as the matter get settled down through unfair practices by the department officials with shopkeepers/restaurants owners”, he added.

He further informed that in order to expose the malfeasance by the officials of the state food and health departments an investigation has been handed over to Senior Superintendent of Police Vigilance Bureau range, Amritsar.

It is informed here that health and food departments collects samples of different food items from various dairies, sweet shops, restaurants and then forward the same to Punjab State Food and Chemical laboratory, Kharar to carry out checking and analysing if any adulteration was detected in the food stuffs.

Uppal further informed that Vigilance Bureau obtained the records of samples received from the Assistant Commissioner, Food and Safety Amritsar, Gurdaspur, Pathankot and Tarn Taran as well as Chemical laboratory, Kharar for the year 2018-19. During corroborating the records pertaining to collection, analysis and received samples, VB has found several discrepancies.

“In the year 2018, total 1,115 samples were sent from the food and safety department, Amritsar and received 1,113 samples from the chemical laboratory, Kharar. Out of these, 851 samples had failed as per the reports of the laboratory whereas food and safety department of Amritsar record shows that only 497 samples were failed”, said Uppal.

VB Chief further revealed that 599 samples were sent by the food and safety department Amritsar for analyzing but Kharar based laboratory received only 597 out of which 217 samples have failed whereas food and safety department Amritsar showed 172 samples have failed in the record during the year 2019.

He further disclosed that during the preliminary enquiry it has came to light that that the records pertaining to all food samples were not maintained properly. He pointed out that one food supply officer receives the slips to seal the food samples and another food supply officer receives samples from sweet shops/restaurants. He added that some slips used for sealing of food samples have been issued to drivers, class-4 employees or clerks of the food and civil supply department. However, these slips could not be issued to these employees as per prescribed rules.

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