School canteens run sans licences

Kids may be consuming unhygienic food

Children going to schools in south Delhi may have been consuming unhygienic food items as over 100 institutions have not taken trading licences from the municipal corporation for running canteens on their premises.

The issue was raised in the Standing Committee meeting of South Delhi Municipal Corporation on Tuesday.

Leader of Opposition Farhad Suri said that it is the duty of the corporation to regulate a trade by issuing a licence. “When the corporation issues a trading license, especially to an eatery, it makes sure that the licence holder maintains desired levels of hygiene,” Suri said.

“It is the duty of the Health Department of the corporation to conduct inspection but it hasn’t inspected these schools in the past three years. The corporation is not doing its part and it has put to risk the lives of hundreds of school children,” he added.

Under the South Zone of the corporation as many as 120 schools have been running canteen without licence, Suri said.

The Leader of Opposition said that the matter was raised in 2012 as well, but the corporation is yet to take any action in this regard. “The irregularity was brought to the notice of the department in October 2012. But the department has not even bothered to reply,” said Suri.

Chairman of the Standing Committee, South Corporation, Satish Upadhyay pulled up the Municipal Health Officer and asked him to look into the matter.

“We aren’t getting satisfactory response from the health department. The department should take this issue seriously and the work done in this regard should show results soon,” Upadhyay said.

According to section 421 of Delhi Municipal Act 1957, no person is allowed to open an eatry, restaurant or cafe without a taking a licence from the commissioner.

This has also caused the South Delhi Municipal Corporation a loss of over Rs 3.5 lakh in the past three years.

The Leader of Opposition tabled an audit report in the meeting. “Neither canteen owner nor the school authorities sought a licence from the health department of the South Corporation to run canteen on the premises of the institutions,” said the report.

“This has resulted in loss of revenue of Rs 3,60,000 to the corporation in the past three years – 2011 to 2014. It can also lead to a mishap,” it added.

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