Two cafes and a meat shop were sealed while another cafe and restaurant in the city’s most popular upscale market have been fined in the ongoing crackdown against eateries.
In the latest development, Additional Deputy Commissioner (ADC) Islamabad Abdul Sattar Isani raided Kohsar Market, sealing Street 1 Café, Table Talk café and Qureshi Meat Shop and imposing a fine of Rs50,000 each on Gloria Jeans and Porterhouse.
The famous coffee place and steakhouse were fined for having dirty refrigerators and paying low wages to staff than minimum rates set by the government, said the ADC. The government has set Rs13,500 as minimum wage while staffers were being paid Rs8,000 to 9,000, he added.
The worst part, Isani expressed, was the fact that the managers and officials of the eateries have been provided two training and learning sessions in the last two months yet they violated the laws and failed to maintain standards.
When officials of the eateries were contacted for their version, they distanced themselves from commenting fearing any comment could land them in further trouble. Some of them while requesting anonymity, however, said the raid was conducted on the orders of city higher-ups to gain more attention in the public eye.
Isani shunned the allegations that luxurious eateries were sealed just to ‘show efficiency’. “These places were not bigger than Serena and Marriott hotels,” he said, adding that the administration could have closed down all five places but took action per the conditions and nature of violations.
“These are mere allegations. Media officials were with us and some of the officials’ of eateries admitted before them that they were rightly accused of violating rules,” he said.
In the raid, Qureshi Meat Shop was sealed after all freezers were found rusty. No expiry dates were found on the preserved meat and trays were open, uncovered and dirty. “Meat for dogs and pets kept with meat for human use,” stated the official page of the administration on Facebook, adding that meat in cold storage was scattered on the floor and there were ‘worst’ hygiene and cleanliness conditions at the meat shop.
Street 1 Café was sealed as expired bread rolls were found. The bread being used was smelly and rotten and had been stored for the last several days. The oil being used was also found unsafe for human consumption and cooked food was found not properly stored. Unhygienic and dirty storage of food items were found and the deep freezers were also dirty.
Isani said Street 1 Café was sealed but its management broke the seals and reopened the cafe on their own. Teams were sent to check, he said, and it was found reopened. It has been sealed again and the responsible management officials have been arrested and strict action will be taken against them, he added.
Table Talk was sealed after bread was found ‘mostly expired.’ The condition of the stove, inside as well as outside, was found ‘worst’ while the freezer was extremely dirty and not properly sealed. The staffers were also under-waged, the official revealed.
Isani said samples have been taken and a laboratory report would come in three to four days, adding that only the report will determine how rotten the meat and other food items in the refrigerators and kitchens were.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 8th, 2015.