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Doubts Galore Over Quality Of Packaged Water In Manipur! Norms, Standards By-Passed Blatantly

Is the Content Safe? Image Credit: Sangai Photo.

IMPHAL, Jan 25: After sub-standard drugs and food, there is strong suspicion that many of the packaged drinking water manufactured and marketed in Manipur are sub-standard, not to talk of blatantly violating the norms of manufacturing such packaged drinking water.

According to an official source in the Food Health Authority, Directorate of Health Services, Government of Manipur, there are sufficient evidences on marketing of many sub-standard packaged drinking water that are manufactured in Manipur flouting all norms.

In one instance, report has been received that a packaged water manufacturing unit in Manipur had released a huge bulk of their sub-standard product in the market by pasting the stickers of A-One, which is water packaging company based in Assam, Gauhati.

However, the source declined to elaborate on the exact date on which this sub-standard packaged drinking water was released in the market.

The source explained that in accordance with the norms of manufacturing packaged drinking water; first of all there should be necessary laboratory equipments.

Only then, the required certificate for manufacturing packaged drinking water should be sought either from the Bureau of Indian Standard (BIS) or Indian Standard Institute (ISI).

On receiving the required certificate, license is to be again sought from the Food Health Authority, Directorate of Health Services, Government of Manipur.

The license issued by the Food Health Authority also needs to be renewed after every three years.

There should be proper packaging of the packaged drinking water manufactured on the basis of the license given by the Food Health Authority before it is released for the market.

Unfortunately, even if many types of packaged drinking water manufactured in Manipur are available in the market, there is no exact record on how many licenses have been given by the Food Health Authority to the manufacturing laboratories.

As per norm, the licenses are to be renewed after every three years, but no manufacturing laboratories in Manipur have renewed their licenses in the last five years.

Moreover, in case of failure to renew the licenses in time, the licenses of the defaulting manufacturing companies concerned may be cancelled and shut down by the Government. But no such actions have been ever been taken so far.

The Food Safety Officers under the Food Health Authority are also supposed to conduct regular check of the manufacturing laboratories.

Food Health Authority is also supposed to conduct regular check of the manufacturing laboratories. But on lack of infrastructures and other requirements, the Food Safety Officers have not been able to perform their duties properly. On the other hand, many unbranded food items with no date of manufactured and expiry, batch number, etc are still openly sold in the market today.

Titali Hing, which has been banned even by issuing a Gazette notification by the Government of Manipur, is still openly sold in the market. To control all these problems, the requirements of the Food Safety Officers   should be taken care of by the Government.

To ensure proper functioning of the Food Safety Officers, a sum of Rs 4.5 lakhs have been earmarked in the budget allocation of the financial year 2010-2011. But there has been no sign of releasing this amount even though the financial year nearing completion.

(Courtesy: The Sangai Express)

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