The transport department feels two of its officials asked to join the FDA team for checking the quality of imported fish are not qualified and competent to detect both, formalin and ammonia contamination in fish at the Patradevi and Polem check-posts.
The FDA recently conducted training for two senior RTO officials to detect both, formalin, a toxic aldehyde listed as a cancer causing agent, and ammonia contamination in fish using rapid detection kit developed by Central Institute of Fisheries Technology (CIFT).
Officials from the transport department said that their motor vehicle inspectors do not have the qualification and legal standing to monitor quality of imported fish and even if they are delegated with powers then other enforcement work will have to face a major setback, as they are severely short-staffed. However, the decision to allow the motor vehicle inspectors to carry out checks on fish quality has not been taken yet by the transport department.
Officials also complain that the staff crunch affects work efficiency and performance and if they are delegated with additional responsibility to check fish quality then the situation will further worsen.
“We are not qualified to conduct chemical tests on fish and delegating powers to do the tests will have a serious impact on our work. We have the powers to check and impound vehicles if they are found in violation of motor vehicle rule. The department already suffers from a serious staff crunch and sending officials to do testing will affect traffic enforcement exercise on road,” the transport official said.