With the registration deadline only four months away, it seems paan vendors do not want the Food Safety and Standard Act (FSSA) registration or licence. Only 34 of the 30,000 paan vendors in the city have come forward to register.
The centre implemented the FSSA in July 2012, and the paan vendors were given time till February 2014 to complete the registration process. But, with no takers the city’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has taken up the mantle to ensure maximum vendors register by the D-day.
According to the Pune Paan Association there are around 30,000 pan stalls owners in the city, but till date around 34 paan stalls have been registered under FSSA. Following the revelations, FDA officials have started contacting paan shop owners to spread the message and are working towards increasing registrations.
“Around 34 to 40 paan stalls have registered till date. We are coordinating with the paan association in the city, so that all of them either will get registered or secure a licence. We have called some of them for a meeting recently, and are hopeful,” said Shashikant Kekare, joint commissioner, FDA (Food), Pune Division.
FDA officials are, however, facing a hurdle due to the anti-tobacco drive. Kekare said paan stall owner want us to review the ban on scented tobacco. “The vendors are promising they will register, but they want the FDA to reconsider the ban on scented tobacco,” said Kekare.
Although, the paan association is showing positive signs to get the vendors registered under the FSSA, they want the ban on scented tobacco lifted. “Scented tobacco is one of the main ingredients in a paan, and without that it is difficult to consider eating paan.
The FDA’s move has affected business of all paan stalls in the city. Nearly, 90 per cent income is generated from the sale of scented tobacco paans. If scented tobacco is banned, how will vendors survive?” asked Shantilala Suratwala, founder of the paan stalls associations in the city.
Sharad More, president of the Pune Paan Association, said, “There is no paan business without the scented tobacco. We are requesting FDA officials to reconsider the ban on scented tobacco. We are not saying that we won’t register under the act, but lifting the ban will help us to do it willingly. If there is no business then what is the use of registration?”
The FDA is also struggling to get not only small vegetable vendors, but also big vendors from markets in the city to register under the FSSA.
“If we consider one market of around hundred vegetable vendors, hardly 10 to 20 vegetables vendors are registered or have procured a licence. A basic problem is that there is need to tell them what it is exactly and what’s the reason behind it. Most of them are illiterate and they don’t want to register.
We are constantly trying to tell them about the same. If some vegetable vendors are convinced, then the others mock him, telling him that there is no need for it,” Kekare.