Friday, December 3, 2021
Home News Society Gujarat Government Orders Roll Back Of Ban On Non-Veg Roadside Food Stalls

Gujarat Government Orders Roll Back Of Ban On Non-Veg Roadside Food Stalls

The state government ordered a rollback of the ban on non-veg food stalls reportedly on the intervention of the poultry industry dominated by Hindus all over the country, including Gujarat. 

The ban on the sale of eggs and non-veg food from the roadside would have severely affected the poultry industry, particularly during the winter season, when eggs and chicken meat consumption is the highest.

The ban was also against Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s theory that selling “pakoras” is also employment. Modi had made the statement a few years ago when he came under criticism from Opposition parties. Opposition leaders had accused him of failing to create two crores jobs annually he had promised during the 2014 parliamentary elections.

Syed Khalique Ahmed

NEW DELHI/AHMEDABAD—The roadside food vendors, veg and non-veg, in Gujarat had a big relief, with the intervention of Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel and state BJP president C R Paatil.

In media statements on Tuesday, they said that the government had no problem with the sale of non-veg food from the roadside, and they can operate as usual.

However, the CM made it clear that action would be taken against food stalls selling unhygienic foods or creating problems in smooth traffic flow on the road. However, this order applies to both veg and non-veg food stalls.

With their statements, the authorities in four municipal corporations-Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Rajkot, and Bhavnagar- stopped removing roadside food carts and stalls if their owners and operators followed hygiene norms covering their food properly and also ensured that their businesses did not obstruct traffic movement.

The four municipal corporations had initially targeted non-veg food stalls only on the pretext of the peoples’ demand. However, the authorities subsequently began targeting vegetarian food stalls as well after the allegations that the decision of the four corporations was biased. 

Non-veg food stall operators and some political leaders contended that if it was not hygienic to sell non-veg food in the open, the same logic should also apply to vegetarian food. This forced the administration in the four municipal corporations to act against veg stalls as well.

But this resulted in political pressure on the state government and state BJP leaders because it affected their vote bank. The next assembly elections in the state are scheduled for 2022.

According to Opposition Congress leaders, the sale of non-veg food from the roadside was banned first in Rajkot. Rajkot is considered to be the nerve centre of RSS in the state. A sizeable section of the population in the city belongs to the Jain community, who are strict vegetarians.

The campaign against non-veg quickly spread to Bhavnagar, Vadodara, and then to Ahmedabad. As a result, the local bodies authorities issued orders banning non-veg food stalls on roadsides. The issue took a serious turn when the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) imposed the ban because most roadside food stalls, particularly non-veg, are in Ahmedabad.

The decision to ban non-veg food stalls is “narrow-mindedness”: Congress MLA Gayasuddin Sheikh

Congress MLA Gayasuddin Sheikh wrote a letter to the CM, stating that the decision of the four municipal corporations indicated their “narrow-mindedness”.  

“It is the Constitutional right of every citizen to follow a religion, eat the food, and wear clothes of their own choice,” he clarified in the letter. 

“Religion, food habits, and uniform do not disturb anybody, and hence, there is no need to create controversy over it,” he told CM.

He said that the decision seemed to be “politically motivated to polarize the communities” as the state’s next assembly elections are scheduled in 2022.

“Food stall operators in self-employment don’t ask for loans and subsidy. They are earning their livelihood on their own and also contribute to the state’s economy in a big way,” Shaikh said in his letter.

He said that there was no logic in removing roadside vendors because of massive unemployment in the country, including Gujarat, owing to lockdown and industrial slowdown. Congress MLA said that the extent of unemployment in the state could be gauged from the fact that 12 lakh educated youths applied for 9,000 posts of “lok rakshaks” recently advertised by the state government.

Ban on roadside food stalls is a violation of street vending law: PUCL

Rohit Prajapati, a trade unionist and general secretary of Peoples’ Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), questioned the authorities under what law they were removing roadside food stalls. “This is a violation of street vending law”, he told India Tomorrow.  

Prajapati said that majority of the omelett and egg sellers all over the state were non-Muslims. “The decision of the municipal corporations affected Hindu vendors more than the Muslim vendors,” he said.

Govt rolls back the order under pressure from the poultry industry dominated by non-Muslims

A senior journalist based in Ahmedabad, who covered the issue extensively, said that the state government was forced to roll back the order following requests from corporates. The journalist, who requested not to be identified, said that most of the poultry producers all over the country, including Gujarat, were non-Muslims. The ban on the sale of eggs and non-veg food from the roadside would have severely affected the poultry industry, particularly during the winter season, when eggs and chicken meat consumption is the highest.

According to the journalist, boiled eggs and omlettes are sold more in Hindu areas than in Muslim localities. The scribe said that many food stalls selling omlette and boiled eggs were just a few metres distance from the residence of Union Home Minister Amit Shah. Most of the egg and omlette sellers in Ahmedabad are Hindu migrants from UP and Bihar.

So, the economic concern and the pressure from the poultry industry made the Gujarat government take a U-turn on the ban of roadside non-veg food stalls.

According to industry sources, the roadside businesses, including food stalls, contributed to a large chunk of the state’s informal economy. 

Vendors contribute immensely to the local economy: CEPT Research

According to research on the contribution of vendors to Ahmedabad city economy conducted by CEPT University, Ahmedabad, in 2013, the annual turnover of 8750 vendors in Bhadra (prominently Muslim area) was 236.88 crores or the US $ 43.75 million). According to CEPT research, the average daily business turnover of a vendor entrepreneur was Rs. 1880. If the turnover of vendors in other areas of the city was taken into account, the total turnover might have been several times more.

The CEPT research indicates the contribution of the street vendors to the economy of the state and the extent of employment it generated. The findings of the CEPT research were in consonance with the claim of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who, a few years ago, said that selling “pakoras” is also employment. A few years ago, Modi had made the statement when he was confronted with criticism that he had failed to create two crores jobs annually he had promised during the 2014 parliamentary elections.

 But the Gujarat government seemed to have forgotten his statement and tried to uproot sources of livelihood of street vendors.

- Advertisement -

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Stay Connected

20,000FansLike
3,163FollowersFollow
13,000SubscribersSubscribe

Must Read

Is ASI Preserving the Qutub Complex or Desecrating It?

Syed Khalique Ahmed NEW DELHI—Is the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) preserving the Qutub Minar complex to maintain its...

Dalit killings: How Yogi government is shielding upper caste Thakurs in UP

By Akhilesh Tripathi Lucknow--The brutal murder of a Dalit family in Prayagraj has once again exposed the grim law...

Bhopal Gas Disaster Survivors Continue To Be Denied Justice Even After 37 Years Of Mishap

Pervez Bari  BHOPAL - Addressing a Press Conference on the eve of the 37th Anniversary of the December 1984 Union...

Disabled Kids Of Gas Exposed Parents Join Bhopal Gas Disaster Survivors’ Protest On 35th Day

 Pervez Bari BHOPAL – The survivors of the 1984 Bhopal Gas Tragedy, who have been sitting on dharna for more than a...

Related News

Is ASI Preserving the Qutub Complex or Desecrating It?

Syed Khalique Ahmed NEW DELHI—Is the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) preserving the Qutub Minar complex to maintain its...

Dalit killings: How Yogi government is shielding upper caste Thakurs in UP

By Akhilesh Tripathi Lucknow--The brutal murder of a Dalit family in Prayagraj has once again exposed the grim law...

Bhopal Gas Disaster Survivors Continue To Be Denied Justice Even After 37 Years Of Mishap

Pervez Bari  BHOPAL - Addressing a Press Conference on the eve of the 37th Anniversary of the December 1984 Union...

Disabled Kids Of Gas Exposed Parents Join Bhopal Gas Disaster Survivors’ Protest On 35th Day

 Pervez Bari BHOPAL – The survivors of the 1984 Bhopal Gas Tragedy, who have been sitting on dharna for more than a...

Delhi Court Rejects Hindu Party’s Claim Over The Quwwatul Islam Masjid inside the Qutub Minar Complex

Syed Khalique Ahmed NEW DELHI—On Monday, a Delhi court rejected a petition claiming that the Quwwatul Islam mosque within the...