Concerned over the spurt in cases of adulteration of milk and milk products, the Uttar Pradesh government has announced that such offenders would be booked under the stringent National Security Act (NSA).
The announcement, issued by state police chief Vikram Singh on Sunday, comes days after a team of health and police officials made a massive haul of several thousand litres of adulterated milk from Lucknow's wholesale milk market (mandi) near the city railway station.
Last week, Lucknow district magistrate Chandra Bhanu seized quintals of synthetic 'khoya' (milk product) from some local dairy firms.
The circular, issued by the director general of police, directs district police chiefs to conduct surprise raids at all major milk distribution centres together with health department officials.
"Prepare a dossier of every person found to be indulging in adulteration along with details of the substances used for adulteration as also the action taken against each culprit," the circular reads.
Significantly, the state health authorities have pointedly accused the police of providing protection to adulterators.
A top official of the health department told IANS: "We have already drawn the attention of the government on this issue."
He, however, failed to explain why chief medical officers of districts remained mute spectators to the adulteration.
Insiders alleged that more often than not, the police and local health officials were hand in glove in extending patronage to food and milk adulterators.
"Both choose to turn a blind eye to the crime, in exchange for a periodical dole that is assured to them by the culprits. It is only when special drives are launched at the behest of those sitting at the helm of governance that these cases are brought to light, only to be forgotten shortly thereafter," he pointed out.