Ever since news started making rounds about Punjab Food Authority’s (PFA) long dead website and lazy officials, it seems PFA has turned over a new leaf. PFA has made news headlines by working in 8 cities of Punjab and shutting down or fining any restaurant that does not meet a basic standard of health and safety.
Now, they are completing the transition with a new app that will be used to grade restaurants in Punjab. The app has been developed by Punjab Information Technology Board (PITB). A press release on PITB website confirmed that an app was under development for PFA that would help automate the process of complaints and food monitoring practices.
PITB states that the app will help PFA document and monitor restaurants and make the process of information handling much more easy and convenient. PITB has already help Punjab Revenue Authority in automating the process of monitoring restaurant invoices to improve tax collection.
PITB conducted training sessions for the PFA android app so that safety officials could properly learn the working of the app. During the training session, smooth operation of app data management was explained. PITB also detailed how to retrieve real time data using the online PFA dashboard. The dashboard will summarise all the information sent via the app and help PFA monitor restaurants reducing field operations.
The app will initially only work for restaurants in Lahore. Officials will be able to rate restaurants according to the information retrieved according to a sized criteria. The authorities have planned to roll out a future update that will let officials gather information from the public. Another feature that is planned to be added is a complaints form. Public will be able to use the app to inform the authorities about any irregularities noticed during their visits to the restaurants.
Another feature that will help users of the app is using grading information to make their dinner (or lunch) plans accordingly. This sort of information can also be managed using Google apps but it is not commonly used making it outdated and less reliable for most restaurants.
After orders from CM Punjab, food control has become an important task for the government of Punjab. It is a step in the right direction. Automation in such fields will help both authorities to fulfill their duties more easily and the public to stay updated about nearby restaurants’ state of quality control.
The app is not yet released on the Play Store but given the progress of the app and back-end services, it should be very soon.