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Gujarat: After 3 other cities, now ban sought on sale of non-veg food on Ahmedabad streets

Revenue Committee chairman of Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation, Jainik Vakil, has written to the Municipal Commissioner seeking action against the sale of non-veg food on roads

In order to certify the quality of meat or meat products available for public sale, the HC directed the corporation to seek assistance of the veterinary department and make sure they post a few officials for certifying meat quality. (Representational)

The decision by political executives of at least three BJP-run civic bodies in Gujarat to crack down on street food stalls selling non-vegetarian food has left party leaders divided on the issue.

While state chief CR Paatil has instructed civic bodies to set aside announcements based on “personal beliefs”,  a move was made by a political functionary in the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation Saturday to remove such food carts after similar decisions by Vadodara, Rajkot and Bhavnagar.

The Vadodara civic body’s Standing Committee Chairman Hitendra Patel  had Thursday set a 15-day deadline for food stalls to remove  meat from public display. Patel’s “verbal instruction” came a day after the mayor of Rajkot city made a similar announcement, and the civic body began removing such food carts on the ground that “it caused traffic snarls” and “hurt religious sentiments”.

Paatil told The Sunday Express, “I have talked to authorities in the Vadodara and Rajkot civic bodies and told them not to remove the non-vegetarian food carts from the streets. It was the personal opinion of independent leaders and state BJP has nothing to do with it and we will not implement it across the state.” All eight municipal corporations in the state  are ruled by the BJP.

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AMC Revenue Committee Chairman Jainik Vakil Saturday wrote to the Municipal Commissioner and the Standing Committee to ban sale of nonvegetarian food on roads.

“Keeping in mind Gujarat’s identity and Karnavati (Ahmedabad) city’s cultural tradition, it is important to immediately clear encroachment by illegally proliferating non-vegetarian food carts on city’s public roads, religious and educational places…  due to sale of meat, mutton and fish in public places citizens cannot move on roads. In addition to this, residents’ religious sentiments are hurt too. Also, it has become important in order to maintain cleanliness, jeevdaya and adherence to our culture,” the letter states.

The issue has not been met with unanimity in the party.

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Former BJP IT cell president of Kheda district Nandita Thakur tweeted, “We cannot ignore the fact that many people selling fish are our own… Narendra Modi saheb, being a strict vegetarian, never imposed restrictions on those involved in the trade of non-vegetarian food during his tenure as Chief Minister or even (now) as Prime Minister… There should be alternate means made available for them to continue earning their livelihood.”

A senior elected representative from the BJP in Vadodara said, “I am a vegetarian but I do not agree with the decision. The stalls selling non-vegetarian food are a source of livelihood for some families and in absence of a definite policy that they can be seen as violating, how can a crackdown begin on one kind of food? No one disagrees about the hygiene part but that is a consumer’s call, to be honest.”

Vadodara Mayor Keyur Rokadia said that the BJP-ruled VMC had received the instruction issued by Paatil.

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Rokadia said: “We cannot remove any stalls from the streets or arbitrarily stop anyone from selling a particular kind of food. But there is definitely no harm in covering up the food, especially non-vegetarian…”

VMC’s Patel said: “Even now, after receiving the instructions from CR Paatil, we will ask them to cover up for hygiene reasons,”  he said. AMC Standing Committee chairman Hitesh Barot confirmed he had received Vakil’s letter. He said, “The process of checking and issuing of notices will start from Monday. Though we had issued a similar directive of all shops and carts without licences to be banned in September, this is specifically for non-vegetarian ones.”

(inputs from Vaibhav Jha & Ritu Sharma in Ahmedabad)

First published on: 13-11-2021 at 19:19 IST
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