To start a darshini or a restaurant in Bengaluru, one has to get the shops and establishments licence from the labour department; then, a trade licence from the BBMP; and finally, a licence from, and registration with, FSSAI (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India).
The 101 Indira canteens that were opened last week are operating without a licence from FSSAI. Worse, top officials involved in launching and authorizing the canteens aren’t even aware that a licence is required for the same.
“Yes, Indira canteens need to be registered as per the food safety and standard norms,” said Manoj Kumar Meena, Food Safety Commissioner, Karnataka, when Bangalore Mirror asked him a pointed query. “It will be done soon,” was all he said when asked why it wasn’t done earlier.
BBMP Executive Engineer Nandish JR, however, gave a bizarre logic. That government establishments don’t need a licence from anyone. He’s the nodal officer in charge of all Indira Canteens.
“Only private hotels require registration and licence. The government issues them these certificates to ensure that the food they serve to the public is safe. But Indira Canteen is the government’s project so there will be no such problems,” he said.