The inspections on hotels and restaurants in the district as part of the ‘Operation Hot Water’ continued on Thursday. According to the District Medical Officer, inspections were conducted on 315 hotels in the district out of which two hotels were closed down. Another 100 hotels were served with notices.
The drive was launched on Wednesday and on day one, the authorities have inspected 548 hotels and closed down 12 facilities citing unhygienic conditions.The Operation Hot Water Mission was launched jointly by the Ernakulam District Panchayat and the Health Department. The major aim of the drive was to prevent epidemic outbreak and maintaining hygiene in eateries and food outlets in the district. The drive will be carried out till January 25.
Meanwhile, the representatives of Kerala Hotel and Restaurants Association (KHRA) came out against the inspections. They said though the association is not against ‘Operation Hot Water’ drive, they will protest against the closing down of hotels.
“As per the Food Safety Act, only a food analyst can check the quality of the foods and collect food samples from hotels. All that the Health Department can do is check the hygienic conditions of the outlets. Here they are inspecting the quality of the food and are serving closure notices without proper quality check,” he added.
However, the representatives of local bodies said though the Food Safety Act has imposed certain restrictions on the role of local bodies, but still the power to check only hygienic conditions in eateries are vested with them.
“The Operation Hot Water was launched to prevent the outbreak of water borne diseases and other epidemics during the summer. Such cases were reported at Pindimana and Pallarimangalam panchayats in the district. Not only hotels we are also conducting inspections on ice factories and bakeries,” said district panchayat president Eldhose Kunnappally.
The decision to launch the Operation Hot Water Drive was taken at a review meeting attended by Eldhose Kunnappilly, district medical officer Dr Haseena Mohammed, local body representatives and the heads of various departments concerned.