On a day the Town Planning and Estate Management Committee of the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) decided to remove all carts and stalls selling non-vegetarian food from the main roads — becoming the fourth municipal corporation where such directives were issued — Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel said his government has no problem with what people ate.
“For over two days now, a debate has been going on about food carts… We have no issues with who eats vegetarian or non-vegetarian food but the food sold on these carts should not be harmful to health and if they obstruct traffic, the municipal corporation can remove them… But to raise issues about veg/non-veg… anyone can eat whatever they want, we have no objection to that,” said Patel, speaking at a BJP sneh milan event in Anand district on Monday. Patel has been standing committee chairman of the AMC and is an MLA from Ahmedabad.
Earlier, political leaders of the municipal corporations of Rajkot, Vadodara and Bhavnagar had issued similar directives for the removal of non-vegetarian food carts from the main roads and had proceeded to remove them as part of their routine anti-encroachment drives, without waiting for their Standing Committee’s nod.
On Saturday, BJP president C R Paatil had told The Indian Express that he had spoken to authorities in Vadodara and Rajkot Municipal Corporations and told them not to remove non-vegetarian food carts from the streets. “The decision to remove these food carts was the personal opinion of leaders (in municipal corporations). The state BJP has nothing to do with it. We will not implement it across the state”.
AMC’s Town Planning and Estate Management Committee chairman Devang Dani told The Indian Express on Monday, “Orders have been issued to the Estate Department to conduct checking from Tuesday morning and remove carts selling egg and non-vegetarian food from the main roads. From tomorrow morning, these will be removed. Also, these carts are banned within a 100-metre range of religious places, gardens, public places, schools and colleges.”
“There were complaints, especially from morning walkers, residents visiting religious places and parents, of foul smell from these carts. They were leaving a negative impact on the minds of young children,” Dani added.
Citing Gujarat’s “identity and “tradition”, AMC Revenue Committee chairman Jainik Vakil had on Saturday written to the Municipal Commissioner and the Standing Committee to ban the sale of non-vegetarian food on roads “in order to immediately clear encroachment by illegally proliferating non-vegetarian carts on city’s public roads, religious and educational places and other places”.
The Standing Committee, the highest-decision making body in any municipal corporation, discusses and clears proposals by different committees such as Town Planning and Estate Management, which has elected corporators as its members.
According to the Gujarat Provincial Municipal Corporation Act 1949, any decision taken by the Standing Committee has to be cleared by the Municipal Commissioner before it is implemented.
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