2-yr jail for adulterating fish products

Law coming

19 March, 2019 12:00 AM printer

The Cabinet on Monday approved in principle the draft of the Fish and Fish Product (Inspection and Quality Control) Bill, enhancing the maximum punishment to two-year imprisonment for adulterating fish and fish products, and other offences under the proposed law, reports UNB.

The approval came from the weekly Cabinet meeting held at the PMO with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair.

“According to clause 20 of the bill, the court can jail anyone for maximum two years or fine Tk five lakh at best or both for committing offences under the upcoming law and its rules,” said Cabinet Secretary Mohammad Shafiul Alam while briefing reporters at the Secretariat after the Cabinet meeting.

As per the existing Fish and Fish Product (Inspection and Quality Control) Ordinance 1983, the punishment is maximum three months’ jail or fine of Tk 5,000 or both, he said.

In case of repetition of such offences, the punishment will double, he said.

The Cabinet Secretary said the administration (authorised or inspection officers) can also fine maximum Tk five lakh for such offences according to the proposed law.

He said the bill was brought in Bangla version as the existing ordinance was promulgated during military regime, which the court declared illegal. The bill was updated to some extent considering the present context, he added.

Shafiul Alam said no one can export or import fish and fish products without having licence, while farmer cannot run any fish farm without having registration according to the bill.

He said the inspection provision has been made tougher in the bill for ensuring proper inspection and maintaining the quality of fish and fish products in case of export.

As per the bill, adulterating fish and fish products, infiltrating and mixing unwanted things or harmful chemicals with fish and fish products are prohibited, he said adding that there will be a quality assurance manager under the Fisheries Department.

The Cabinet Secretary said the use of banned antibiotics and chemicals in fish farms is prohibited for the sake of safe fish production. No decomposed, contaminated, adulterated fish or fish products can be processed or marketed as per the bill, he said.

The Cabinet also approved the draft of the Bangladesh Sugar Crop Research Institute Bill, 2019 to conduct research over other sugar crops alongside sugarcane in the country.

The proposed law will replace the existing Bangladesh Sugarcane Research Institute Act 1996, said Shafiul Alam.

The bill was brought to expand research areas as sugar is produced not only from sugarcane but also palm, date, Golpata and other sweet crops and trees.

Besides, the Cabinet approved in principle the draft of the Bangladesh Lighthouse Bill, 2019 making the existing the Lighthouse Act, 1927 as a time-befitting one, said Shafiul Alam.

As per the bill, there will be the port lighthouse authority to supervise and run the country’s port lighthouses, he said. The Cabinet Secretary said the levy (charge) collection process of lighthouses has been made easier in the bill.