The new AC has ambitious plans to clean the largest tehsil of the Hunza District from pollution and substandard food items
GOJAL: In an unprecedented move, the administration of Gojal Sub-Division has taken swift action against the shop owners for selling unhygienic and spurious consumer items in the region. The locals have welcomed the action terming it imperative to protect the consumers from serious health hazards posed by highly unhygienic food items while appreciating the administration for setting a good example of serving the people.
It was learned that the local administration took this action for violating a ban on sales of 158 ‘substandard’ food products In Gojal.
The administration had earlier banned the sale of over 150 food items including some leading consumer brands that were identified as substandard under the Gilgit-Baltistan Food Act 2011.
Zulqarnain Khan, Assistant Commissioner Gojal, while talking to The High Asia Herald, said that the companies that own the brands of the substandard products have already been served notices. A proper action, as prescribed the law, will be taken against them shortly, he added.
Responding a question about the flooding of harmful and unhygienic consumer items in the region, AC Khan who recently took charge of his office, said that there was no any food inspector in the whole district of Hunza and this could be one on of the reasons for Gojal and Hunza becoming the haven for the people involved in selling of substandard food items.
The administration has imposed fines on scores of shopkeepers for selling spurious items and violating food control law in Gojal. “We had informed every shopkeeper through letters to dedicate a small corner at their shops for expired and substandard or unhygienic food items wherefrom the administration could collect them and file cases against the suppliers,” Mr Khan said. He went on to say “we are also planning to provide a helpline to the locals to report illegal sales of such items in the region.”
He stressed the need for increasing the number of food inspectors and strict enforcement of the food control and price control laws in Gilgit-Baltistan.
The official also said that dustbins would be installed along KKH in Gojal valley to control pollution. He said the administration is also planning to display signboards along KKH for tourists with messages to keep the area clean.“I will forward a request to the municipal department for the provision of one truck to collect and shift garbage from Gojal.
While talking to this scribe, Rehman Shah, the owner of a grocery store in Gojal valley appreciated the effort of the local administration. He said that this has been the first serious action of its kind He has ever witnessed in the region.
However, he added that the administration should ban the companies and supply chains in Hunza instead of harassing small businessmen and shopkeepers.
Most of the shopkeepers in the region are uneducated and thus, are unable even to read the expiry dates listed on the food items that they sell to the consumers, he said.
Dr Nazimuddin, Medical Officer in Tehsil Gojal, appreciated the action by administration and said that it was already overdue as the flooding of such hazardous food items cause many serious diseases among the local population.
“I have observed that the prevalence of many diseases that were uncommon in Hunza, is increasing alarmingly,” Dr Nizamuddin noted.
A number of researchers have found that the increase in the number of cancer, heart, and other serious ailments is resulted in changing food patterns and lifestyle while shifting from organic food to chemically treated food items.
He said that the previous generations were enjoying much more age longevity for consuming simple food free from all chemicals. The organic food today is vanishing from our diet and thus, the diseases that were unknown for most of the people have become most common for people of our region. These include hypertension, bone disease (osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, etc.), diabetes, gastrointestinal diseases, cancers and hepatitis, Dr Nizamuddin lamented.
Moreover, unhealthy food items that included fast/junk food also result as a disease like depression and thus it’s high time to go back to our traditional organic foods, he concluded.
According to a list issued by the AC, the sales of over 150 food items mostly cooking oils, beverages, and bottled waters have been banned in Sub-Division Gojal after declaring them unfit for human consumption.
Cooking oils, ghee
The items included Hafeez Banaspati, Fawad Banaspati, Inam Banaspati, Hayat Palmolive, Tawanai Palmolive, Gul Banaspati, Mujahid Cooking Oil, Mujahid Soyabean Cooking Oil, Fatima Palmolive Oil, Mumtaz Cooking Oil, Madni Cooking Oil, Maha Banaspati, Roohi Banaspati, Multan Canola Oil, Roohi Canola Cooking Oil, Ittehad Canola Cooking Oil, Ma’az Supreme Banaspati Cooking Oil, Shehbaz Cooking Oil, Shama Banaspati, Moulvi Cooking Oil, Andaaz Banaspati, Qadir Banaspati, Hafeez Cooking Oil, Ganjshakar Cooking Oil, Shafi Cooking Oil, Rahat Cooking Oil, Rahat Banaspati, S.P. Cooking Oil, Sidra Cooking Oil, Tahafuz Cooking Oil, Fauji Kohinoor Banaspati, Sheroz Banaspati, Aaghaz Banaspati, Fatima Cooking Oil, Tayyab Cooking Oil, Zaitoon Refined Palmolive Oil, O.K Cooking Oil, Jashan Banaspati, Punjab Cooking Oil, Seasons Cooking Oil, Asia Pure Cooking Oil, Khushi Cooking Oil, Master Chef Cooking Oil, S.B Gold Cooking Oil, Ittehad Palmoilve Cooking Oil, ACP Cooking Oil, Momin Cooking Oil.
Energy drinks, other items
Other food items that have been banned are Radar and Sting energy drinks, Jelly products, Rachna Tea, China Salt.
The administration has also banned sales of unregistered items which do not carry on their packs the manufacturing and expiry dates, ingredients including Tang, teas, glucose pipe, ice candy, coconut, Cola, dry fruit cola in packed jar, coloured sweets, slanties, chips, Pehlwan food slanti corns.
The administration has also banned sales of bottled waters which are not fit for consumption including Evian, Natural Mineral Dubai, Niamat Pure Healthy water, Pure Natural Sip, Dasani, Klinz, Aqua Eight Pure, Zim Zom Premium,
Spring Ley Natural Mineral.
The administration has banned sales of different brands of milk including Day Fresh Milk, Sky Milk, Adams Pasteurized Milk, Haleeb All-Purpose UHT Milk, Good Milk UHT Full cream, Prema Low Fat Milk, Anhaar Low Fat Milk Pasteurized.
The suppliers and shopkeepers have been warned not to bring the abovementioned banned items to the District.
Asif Saeed Sakhi is Bureau Chief of The High Asia Herald/TV/Baam-e-Jahaan for Gojal, Hunza
Asif Saeed Sakhi is Bureau Chief of High Asia Media Group for Hunza-Gojal. He has done masters from Karachi University. He is a political and social activist