Workshop on food fortification organised

Confederation of Indian Industry’s – Food and Agriculture Centre of Excellence (CII-FACE), Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), Consumer VOICE and CERC jointly launched “A Drive Against Malnutrition” by holding a Stakeholder’s Workshop at Ahmedabad Management Association on 15 July 2015

In the well-attended workshop, speakers highlighted the need for food fortification and its importance to tackle malnutrition as well as lifestyle related health issues. Ashim Sanyal, chief operating officer, Consumer VOICE, said: “Fortification of commonly consumed foods such as wheat flour, edible oil, milk and salt, offers an ideal mechanism to deliver critical vitamins and minerals, such as iron, folic acid, vitamins A, D, B12 and others to large populations.”

The deputy commissioner, Food and Drug Control Administration (FDCA), Gujarat, S.N. Thakar, described the ongoing government nutritional interventions. Dolly Jani, nutritionist and food technologist from CERC, said vitamins and minerals cannot be produced by the body and have to come from the diet. Janki Patel, dietician, explained why fortification is necessary in India. “Indians tend to lose 40% vitamins and electrolytes through perspiration because of the tropical climate. Also, dark-skinned Asians have a tendency to absorb half the Vitamin D that white-skinned populations do,” she said.

CERS helps private societies on property tax issue

As a result of efforts by CERS, the property tax levied by Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) on sub-stations installed by Torrent Power Ltd (TPL), in the premises of 800 private societies in Ahmedabad has been withdrawn with immediate effect. The Energy and Petrochemical Department of the Government of Gujarat (EPD-GoG) issued a notification on 17 June 2015 on the matter.

On receiving complaints from societies in Vastrapur and Satellite areas, CERS raised this issue with GoG, AMC and TPL but did not get a positive response. It is to be noted that TPL was paying token rent of Rs 100 per year for occupation of the space while AMC was charging tax of Rs 6000-8000 per year from societies instead of collecting the amount from TPL.

Then, Chief General Manager of CERS, K.K. Bajaj, raised this issue at a High Level State Advisory Committee meeting held at the Gujarat Electricity Regulatory Commission (GERC) office on 22 April 2015 where representatives from all utilities were present. CERS demanded that the tax should be paid by TPL which was supported by the GERC chairman. Finally, EPD-GoG passed a resolution directing AMC not to recover any tax from electricity companies.

GERC issues notices to state DISCOMs on security deposit

CERS, on receipt of a large number of complaints from power consumers of government Distribution Companies (DISCOMs), wrote a letter to the Gujarat Electricity Regulatory Commission (GERC) chairman on 5 June 2015. The DISCOMs are not paying interest on security deposit amount as per regulations. Since industrial consumers pay lakhs of rupees as security deposit this is a heavy loss for them.

GERC demanded an explanation from the managing directors of the four government DISCOMs of Gujarat – PGVCL, UGVCL, DGVCL and MGVCL – within ten days in a letter issued on 1 July 2015. CERS has urged for action as per Section 142 of the Electricity Act and recovery of penalty amount from concerned officials of each DISCOM.

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