Mumbai, March 13 (IANS) Maharashtra plans to make the menace of milk adulteration a non-bailable offence, attracting a punishment of up to three-year jail, Food and Civil Supplies Minister Girish Bapat said here on Tuesday.
At present, milk adulteration is a bailable offence with just a six-month imprisonment, which the state government now plans to change.
Responding to the issue raised through a calling attention notice by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) member Ameet Satam, Bapat informed the assembly that if the punishment is raised to three years, there would be no scope for the accused to get enlarged on bail.
Several other members demanded a life-term for such offences, but the Minister said there could be difficulties in enacting a law with a life sentence for the offenders.
Bapat added that currently, the state has only four mobile vans to test milk adulteration and that too is not being done on a regular basis.
However, he assured the House that he would instruct the departments concerned to conduct checks on a regular basis.
"These van would conduct tests more frequently on the milk being carried in vans entering Mumbai and other parts of the state," Bapat assured.
According to Satam, around 30 per cent of the milk brought into Mumbai is adulterated, posing serious health and safety hazards.
He said regular or surprise checks are not being carried out owing to a shortage of both vans and staff, and demanded amendments to the existing laws to curb adulteration of milk, medicines and food served in hotels.