BENGALURU: "A six-month jail term and a fine of Rs 5 lakh is levied on those operating without licenses,” says T Narasimha Murthy, which is not being followed in Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam’s (TTD) case. He adds that the TTD is prompt in taking their own issues to court, but don’t want to follow any rules themselves. “For example, there was a sweet shop in Chennai called ‘Tirupati Ladoos’. TTD approached the TN High Court and had the shop shut down.”
The way ahead
The TTD has obtained the license (which will have to be renewed each year) for operating as a FBO (Food Business Operator), making Murthy’s fight successful after several threats sent his way to back off over the last few months. “They have finally obtained the license about a month ago. Usually, when the documents are submitted to us and if they are all in place, we issue the license within a day or two,” says Dr M Kannan, southern regional deputy director, Central Licensing Authority, FSSAI. He adds that apart from Murthy’s efforts, the FSSAI has also been trying to get various temples to get licences, and now that TTD has got its, others will follow.
Murthy claims that there are close to 30 lakh temples in the country that do not adhere to food safety standards. “I see the TTD as the Supreme Court, and now that I have succeeded in making them get a license, I can focus on other temples in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and then Golden Temple,” he says adding that RTIs are the best way to get anything done in this country.
When CE contacted TTD, they were unavailable for comment.