Town and Country Planning Minister Vijai Sardesai on Friday said that a fish-testing lab of the Export Inspection Agency (EIA), Mumbai will be set up in the retail fish market area in Margao within six months. The lab will come up on a 500 sq mts land, he added.
Vijai along with EIA joint director Dr Sanu Jacob, FDA director Jyoti Sardesai, South Goa Planning and Development Authority (SGPDA) chairperson Dr Renuka Da Silva, member secretary and officials of SGPDA conducted a joint inspection of the area on Friday.
Speaking to media persons, Vijai said that though the officials have set a deadline of six months to set up the lab, it will be done within six months as the PDA and the Margao Municipal Council will provide all support to EIA.
“I have spoken to the Health Minister Vishwajit Rane, who is in-charge of FDA, and asked him to post FDA official Iva Fernandes in the wholesale fish market to test fish considering the demand of fish buyers as well as the wholesale fish traders,” he added.
Sardesai said that the PDA will impress upon the traders to comply with the FDA licences so that they can carry on with their business. He further said that the government wants to resolve the issue at the earliest as people as well as the tourism industry is suffering as fish is not found.
Responding to a query from media persons, the FDA director clarified that besides the FSSAI licence, it is mandatory for traders to possess a licence to transport food products which also includes fish. She further said that FSSAI and FDA licence are same.
Dr Jacob said that the lab will be set up within six months provided all approvals are received from the Centre in time. He further stated that EIA officials will operate the lab.
When asked whether EIA will assist FDA to check fish till the lab is ready, Dr Jacob answered in the positive but added that the testing will be done in Mumbai but it will take at least 45 days.
Meanwhile, Health Minister Vishwajit Rane in a voice note shared on WhatsApp said that he will hold a joint meeting with the officials of EIA and Quality Council of India on Monday to finalise the space in South Goa for setting up the state-of-the-art laboratory.
“We will take both EIA and QCI onboard and we are trying to accommodate them in the same place,” he said.
Source:: The Navhind Times