Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Feb 12:
Odisha Government has banned the sale of fast food items in OPOLFED) kiosks in the Twin City of Bhubaneswar and Cuttack.
The government has served notice on 54 OPOLFED kiosks in the city for illegally selling junk food and encroaching upon government land.
Water and electricity supply to the kiosks will be disconnected from defaulters and they will be barred from using the banner, brand and logo of OPOLFED, said a notification issued by the Agriculture, Fisheries and Animal Resources Development Ministry.
As per the contract, the kiosk lease holders occupying government land can only sell poultry products such as eggs and dressed chicken at prices set by OPOLFED. A target had been set to sale fiver cartoons (1050) eggs and 10 kilo dressed chicken per day. However, they continue to sell chicken at Rs 20-25 and eggs at Rs 8-10 per dozen higher than the set prices.
The GA Department had allotted 10X12 ft land to OPOLFED booths for selling poultry products while BMC issued trade licences to operators in the 80’s and 90’s. While 66 kiosks were allotted in Bhubaneswar, 16 were allotted in Cuttack on a 99 year lease.
The lease holders started transferring OPOLFED booths to other parties without permission from government agencies, encroached on excessive land and started selling junk food under the banner of OPOLFED later. Out of 54 operating kiosks in Bhubaneswar, 50 are selling junk food and have stopped selling egg or dressed chicken. In Cuttack, the 16 booths sell only eggs.
Earlier on June 11, 2014, the ministry had attempted to curb the illegal sale of fast food and land encroachment, But the High Court of Odisha had stayed eviction of OPOLFED booths on July 14, 2014. It lifted the stay recently when OPOLFED moved the court against vendors. On November 11, 2014, the court directed state government to bring down illegal portions of the poultry kiosks operating under the OPOLFED banner.
The court had also asked Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) and General Administration Department (GA) to take appropriate action against errant OPOLFED operators who have encroached land beyond permissible limits.