Pune: State revenue minister Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil on Thursday said that the Maharashtra government is mulling taking stringent action against milk adulteration (adulterators) namely, booking those responsible under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime (MCOCA) Act, the legalities of which are being studied in detail. Patil was addressing a meeting of top district administration officials at the Pune District Collectorate wherein he discussed a raft of issues.
Patil said, “While the action against milk adulterators has been far from satisfactory, the government is considering the option of invoking MCOCA against the accused so that a strong message can be sent out among the wrongdoers. We will also initiate criminal proceedings against cooperatives that are behind encouraging milk adulteration.”
Acute manpower shortage in the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is the reason behind the less-than-adequate action against milk adulterators, Patil lamented. “The FDA is short on manpower. Therefore, the surplus manpower of Aarey will be given to the FDA which will give it more teeth. It is necessary to curb the adulteration of milk in the district as well as in the state. There are complaints of corruption in the FDA. Some people have started the business of extorting money by showing the fear of law. Acceptance of adulterated milk is mostly on the part of private plant owners. The proposal to give independent powers to the Dairy Development Department along with the FDA will now be submitted to the cabinet for action against adulteration,” the minister said.
Patil explained that the government will start a diploma in veterinary science to give lateral entry to those students who have completed their course in the field of dairy and agriculture. Commenting on the arrest of former divisional revenue commissioner, Anil Ramod, Patil said, “It is a serious case and several agencies are involved in the investigation. A committee under additional chief secretary (revenue) will look into different aspects of restricting and overhauling the entire revenue department. The committee will submit its report within one month. It is being constituted as a number of officials related to land hearing, right from the tehsildar to other ranks in the revenue department are involved. It will result in a clear-cut resolution of the issue in the form of a policy decision,” Patil said. The minister accepted that his educational institute had accepted funds from Zakir Naik some years ago. “The Enforcement Directorate (ED) and other central agencies have given us a clean chit and at that time, Naik was not booked for any criminal offence,” he said.