Restaurateurs not happy with new food licence law

Published: Nov 24, 2011, 08:43 IST | Priyankka Deshpande |

Say licensing by state or Centre instead of PMC would mean increased licence fee and submission of more documents

Say licensing by state or Centre instead of PMC would mean increased licence fee and submission of more documents

Hotel owners in the city are unhappy with the new rule that allows food licences to be issued only by the central or state licensing authority. With the new rule, hotel owners said the licence fee would increase and more documents would have to be submitted.

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With the amended Food Safety and Standards Act (FSSA), 2006, now coming into force, it is mandatory for all the food manufacturers, including small eateries to register or renew their existing licence from Food and Drug Association (FDA).

Earlier, the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) used to issue the food licences in the city. Congress leader and former standing committee chairman Arvind Shinde has raised this issue in General Body (GB) meeting held on November 22, which was supported by few corporators across the party.     

"Although the central government has amended the FSSA, which will now be applicable to all hotel owners, we were expecting that the issue be discussed in GB and brought before the Standing Committee, but it never happened," said Shinde. Shinde said the PMC would lose its revenue to the state, as the powers of issuing food licences would now be with the state government.

Hotels owners in the city are also confused, as they have to submit a bunch of documents, which was not necessary when the PMC was regulating and issuing the food licences. Ganesh Shetty, president of Restaurant's and Hotelier's Association, said: "Those hotel owners who want to renew their licence will now have to submit a number of documents like income tax returns, PAN card, sales tax returns and so on, which were not mandatory when municipal corporation used to issue the licences."

Shetty said that although it would make the procedure transparent, hoteliers would have to pay nearly 10 times more the amount than the existing licence fee. Chandrashekhar Salunke, assistant commissioner of FDA (Pune district), said: "All street food vendors who are having an annual turnover of less than Rs 12 lakh will get registration for manufacturing the food instead of license.

Those having a turnover of over Rs 12 lakh will have to obtain a licence. The food inspectors from the PMC and the PCMC will now be known as food safety officers and will work under the supervision of FDA's designated officer," said Salunke.

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