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Labs to test quality of rice coming up in JK capitals

Srinagar, Jan 1: The Jammu and Kashmir government has decided to set up a scientific laboratory in the valley for monitoring the quality of rice procured for the consumers in the state.

As per the manual of the procedures, the Department of Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs (FCS&CA) has to keep a check on the quality and quantity of the procurement by conducting physical verification of all the stocks of central godowns and various sale and storage centres.

However, an official of FCS&CA said there is no testing laboratory or trained manpower available with the department for checking scientifically the quality of food grains.

“We don’t have any scientific laboratory in which we can check or monitor the quality of rice that we purchase from Food Corporation of India. We only conduct physical verification. As such, there has to be a scientific laboratory to ensure the quality of rice is not compromised,” the official said.

He added that the government is in the process of identifying the land for such the laboratory.

“The laboratory will possibly to be set up in Bemina and will have all the modern equipment to gauge the quality of rice. Government has also decided to hire experts to run it,” the official added.

FCS&CA Kashmir Director, Muhammad Qasim Wani, confirmed it and said they have initiated the process for setting up of the laboratory.

“The laboratories will be set up in Srinagar as well as in Jammu,” Wani told The Kashmir Monitor.

He, however, said that department, until the labs are ready, won’t allow any compromise with the quality of rice being procured.

“We take samples if there are any complaints. There is not even a one percent compromise,” he claimed.

Similarly, he said there was zero tolerance on ration pilferage. “There is complete transparency in the department now,” he said.

The Director said that department has installed CCTV cameras in godown and offices.

“We are also considering installing of CCTV cameras in every ration depot. We have taken some measures by which the ration pilferage and black-marketing have been stopped,” he added.