Goa Health Minister Vishwajit Rane on Tuesday said the Food and Drugs Administration Department (FDA) will crack down on drug peddling dens operating under the garb of food outlets being run by foreigners in the state.
He warned that food joints running without the FDA licence will be sealed forever, and that the foreigners running such outlets will also not be spared.
"Several foreigners are into food business in Goa. I have got to know that these outlets are doubling up as drug selling points. They have become a drug paradise," Rane told reporters here.
"Police protection would be provided to the FDA teams during raids on such outlets to avoid confrontation with foreigners. A police team led by sub-inspector would accompany the FDA officials," he said.
Besides keeping an eye on restaurants run by foreigners, the FDA will also keep a check on five-star hotels and beach shacks, he said.
"The FDA is going to ensure that hygiene and good safety standards are maintained. Nobody can take us for a ride," he said.
The FDA will also inspect night clubs operating in the beach belts to ensure that they maintain good food standards, the minister said.
Referring to the recent ban on import of fish in Goa, Rane said the FDA may relax the ban for small-time fishermen.
"We can lift the ban on these fishermen only after having all quality checks in place. A person who is catching fish with canoes within 60 km of Goa might be given the relief," he said.
Rane said the government is working on a mechanism to relax the ban but at the same time, it does not want traders to take advantage and illegally bring fish into the state.
The state government is also working to ensure quality testing to check use of formalin (preservative) in fish brought into the state, he added.