Announcement made despite FSSA mandating sale of oil in packets

Labour Minister K.T. Pachamal on Monday announced that State government officials shall henceforth not take any action against traders selling cooking oil in loose.

The announcement was made following a joint plea made by Tamil Nadu Food Grains Merchants Association (TNFGMA) and Madurai District Tiny and Small Scale Industries Association (MADITSSIA) at a meeting convened by them to discuss the features of the Food Safety and Standards Act (FSSA), 2006, and Legal Metrology Act, 2009.

In a memorandum submitted to the Minister, the two associations claimed that forcing traders to sell oil in packets would considerably increase the price of the product since small traders and merchants might have to spend most of their capital on purchasing machinery required for packaging.

The price rise would directly affect the poor and the daily wage labourers who purchase cooking oil in loose from local stores. Accepting their demand, the Minister told the gathering: “From today onwards, there shall be no impediment in selling cooking oil in loose. It can be sold without any restraint.”

Mr. Pachamal, however, did not commit anything on the demand made by the two associations to stop implementing the FSSA in Tamil Nadu. The trade bodies felt the provisions of the Act were draconian and against the interests of small and medium traders involved in food business.

Stating that the 2006 enactment was brought into force on April 1, 2011, when the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam government was ruling the State, he said that his government would certainly write to the Centre to amend the objectionable provisions of the legislation.

In so far as demands that were within the purview of the State government, he said those would be considered after due consultation with the officials concerned.

He also said that appropriate action would be taken on the traders’ plea to abolish the practice of forcing labour department officials to book at least 25 cases a month in every district.

Cooperation Minister ‘Sellur’ K. Raju said that the traders’ demands would be conveyed to Chief Minister Jayalalithaa.

More In: Madurai