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Meat sellers feel bird hit heat

Bhubaneswar, Dec. 19: Meat and fish sellers around the Biju Patnaik Airport were evicted on Saturday to keep birds away from the area. The airport has reported two bird hit cases in as many days.

The drive against meat sellers was carried out by a joint team of Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation and city police. Sources said that 20 meat and fish vendors within three-kilometre radius of the airport were removed.

“The police team also seized the meat and fish that were being sold by the vendors. It was handed over to the BMC officials,’’ said deputy commissioner of police Himanshu Lal. A similar drive was also carried out on December 13.

The police acted under the Traffic and Public Order (Regulations) 2008 of the Orissa Urban Police (OUP) Act 2003, which restricts the sale of meat and fish on roadsides.

The police team demolished shops the meat and fish shops in the entire stretch running parallel to the airport boundary including areas like Pokhariput, Kargil Road, Lingaraj station, Gandamunda, Poonama Gate and Dharma Vihar. The vendors were also fined Rs 500 each.

The raid was conducted by two platoons of police accompanied by eight officers. “The raids will also take place in other areas,” the DCP said.

On August 28, an Indigo flight had to be detained for six days at the Biju Patnaik Airport due to snags that was followed by a bird hit. Again on December 12, a Kingfisher flight with 150 passengers on board had a narrow escape when it developed a technical snag following a bird hit.

“Apart from ensuring that there are no meat shops around the airport, we are planning five slaughterhouses which will function in accordance with norms. Once they come into existence, meat pieces will not lie here and there attracting birds. Besides, we will also be able to meet the high court directive on stopping cruelty to animals,” said municipal commissioner Vishal Kumar Dev.

“The general administration department has already allotted land to BMC for the purpose of building slaughterhouses. The construction of the buildings would start soon. Presently, there is only one slaughterhouse in Laxmisagar,’’ he added.

The secretary, Meat Merchant Association, Bhubaneswar, Sarjan Quereshi said: “The BMC evicted the vendors without taking steps for their rehabilitation. Our association has rehabilitated some of them in the Sundarpada Market for the time being. But the authorities must expedite the construction of slaughterhouses.”

A state government employee who lives in the area said that authorities should not rest after evicting the meat sellers. They should also take steps to remove the animal carcasses found lying on the nearby railway track frequently.

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