November 17, 2021 2:59:01 am
The town planning and estate department of the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) removed over 50 foodstalls selling vegetarian and non-vegetarian food from nearly eight areas of the city as part of an “anti-encroachment drive” following a directive from the town planning and estate management committee chairman, Devang Dani, on Monday.
The anti-encroachment teams seized seized 231 items, including nine commercial sheds, 16 kutcha huts, 12 carts and nine cabins along with tables, chairs, plastic crates and other items. Similar drives were conducted in Vastrapur, Ashram Road, Behramnpura and Maninagar areas. Five carts and 13 tables and chairs were seized in Maninagar ward.
“The drive will be continued in the coming days,” said a statement issued by the deputy estate officer South West zone. The areas also covered under this drive were Iskcon crossroads, SG highway, Anandnagar-Prahladnagar road and along service road on the SG highway under Sarkhej ward.
While Dani, who had sought the removal of carts selling “non-vegetarian food” was not available for comment, AMC standing committee chairman Hitesh Barot told The Indian Express, “This is an anti-encroachment drive for fruit and vegetable vendors too. All encroachments, without licences will be removed. It is not to hurt anyone’s religious sentiments. It is being viewed in a wrong sense. Those who want to eat can eat whatever they like.”
When asked how many street vendors were issued licences, Barot said that would be verified “in the course of the anti-encroachment drive”. He also declined that there are any written instructions on this from the standing committee.
The Gujarat Street Vendors Association held a protest at Usmanpura garden where its president Rakesh Maheria said, “Due to inhuman action in the name of anti-encroachment drive by the AMC against street vendors, there is a sense of fear. Not only non-vegetarian, but also other vendors selling food items remained closed Tuesday. There is an estimated number of 30,000-35,000 street vendors in city. After discussion, we will decide to take legal recourse against this action Wednesday.”
The All India Majlis e Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM), which has seven corporators in AMC, protested by taking eggs to present them to mayor Kirit Parmar, and demand withdrawal of the “anti-constitutional anti-poor” by the AMC. The party’s city unit president Shamshad Pathan along with AIMIM city councillors reached AMC headquarter in Danapith but were stopped outside by police.
“We have not yet received a copy of this disturbing decision from you or the chairman of your Town Planning Committee… If such a decision has been made… it is totally unconstitutional and illegal… So you are requested to immediately withdraw the disruptive decision… we demand that if there is no licence, they have to go through the necessary process on the spot and provide licence… if that is not possible then street food zone should be set up to include these poor street vendors. It is also demanded that after conducting a survey of such vendors, the education cost of their children should be borne by the AMC,” the AIMIM stated.
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