A J&K court on Monday fined Valley’s top milk manufacturing brand with Rs 9 lakh after the milk produced was found to be adulterated with detergent and blamed the company for the increased number of cancer patients in the Valley.
A lower court in central Kashmir’s Budgam district held – Khyber Agro Farms Private Limited guilty of selling sub-stranded, mis-branded and unsafe milk and asked the Commissioner of Food Safety to shut the company operation or to take its products off the market.
The Judicial Magistrate also sentenced the convicted company’s head of operations to six months imprisonment for violating various sections of Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006.
The court also criticised the Food Analyst for not discharging his duties and ordered his removal.
“Either Hamidullah Dar (Food Analyst Kashmir) is incapable to conduct the test and discharge his duties to the expectations of his assignment and job. Or he is dishonest to his job,” the court remarked in the judgment.
The court in its judgment said the officer Dar had time and again been given clean chit in favour of the accused company and it had forced Drugs & Food Control Organization to forward the samples to Referral Laboratory Kolkata for re-analysis. While the Food Analyst of the Kashmir Province in its report in 2013 had declared the milk product safe for consumption, the same sample was found “sub-standard, un-safe and mis-branded” by a Kolkata laboratory.
“Person like Mr. Hamidullah Dar is more dangerous than a fatal disease like cancer for the entire nation and [his] incapacity or compromise with the nature of the job like Food Analyst Kashmir cannot be accepted by any standards of expectations where lives of the citizens are involved,” the court said.
The Judicial Magistrate in his judgment noted similar instances earlier and said that the milk manufactured by Khyber contains “detergent, urea and other dangerous chemicals not only in milk but other edible products.”
“The accused company is facing similar cases before various courts, therefore, the presumption of innocence in favour of the accused company is ruled out,” the judge said.
The court also directed the Station House Officer to collect the samples of all other products like milk, ghee, curd and cheese manufactured by the company and asked to send them to a referral laboratory in Kolkata for analysis.