THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Amid the ongoing debate regarding seizure of around 28,000 kg of adulterated fish at border check posts in the state, focus has now been shifted to the impending Kerala Fish Auctioning, Marketing and Quality Control Bill.
The proposed legislation, slated to be presented during the next session of the Assembly, is expected to overhaul the way fish is marketed and sold in the state. According to the Food Safety Department (FSD), once the Bill gets passed the menace of bringing in chemically contaminated fish from other states could be checked to a large extent.
“This Bill could become a game changer. Not only will it regulate the fish market in the state but also it could check the unhealthy practices of using chemicals to preserve the fish varieties. With the said Bill expected to be much more stringent than the Food Safety and Standards Act (FSSA), it could ensure good fish selling practices in the state,” said an FSD officer.
Confirming the same, Fisheries Minister J Mercykutty Amma told ‘Express’ that as the proposed Bill enlists stricter penalties for the rogues, unhealthy practices in the fish sale could be rooted out. “With the FSSA having certain limitations, what we envision under the Kerala Fish Auctioning, Marketing and Quality Control Bill is to introduce penalties including a fine of Rs 1 lakh to Rs 2 lakh or imprisonment or both in cases of using adulterant substances in fish. Only such stringent provisions could address the menace to a certain extent,” said Mercykutty Amma.
The minister also said there is a plan to introduce a system wherein the catch brought to the harbour by the fishermen could be directly sent to the market for sale, thereby avoiding the middlemen. To ensure that good practices are followed in fish marketing and sale, there is also a proposal to introduce management societies in fishing harbours and markets in the state, the minister said.
SHRC seeks report
T’Puram: In the incident in which chemically contaminated fish were seized from border check posts, the Kerala State Human Rights Commission has sought a report from the state government. In a statement released here, commission judicial member P Mohandas said a report has been sought from the Chief Secretary, Health Secretary and Food Safety Commissioner regarding how the seized fish are being discarded. The report will have to be submitted within three weeks.