Bhubaneswar, Aug. 20: The municipal corporation has started a survey of Omfed and Opolfed booths here to ensure better traffic control and smooth flow of various development work.
In the first phase of the survey, the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation has submitted a status report on 59 such booths to the general administration department yesterday.
The report has been prepared in consultation with the public works department so that various development issues, including future road expansion, are taken care of.
There are 550 Omfed (Odisha State Co-Operative Milk Producers’ Federation Limited) and 67 Opolfed (Odisha State Poultry Products Co-Operative Marketing Federation Limited) booths in the city.
Apart from these, there are 50 other kiosks that are being used as public call offices and flower shops under the name Kusum.
City municipal commissioner Sanjib Kumar Mishra said: “We have found that many Omfed and Opolfed booth owners are either ignorant of the fact that they need permission from the general administration department or the corporation to run the shops. On the other hand, some kiosk owners are cheating the system by opening multiple booths while having a single permission for a fixed locality. All these facts and the location of the kiosks will be checked through this survey.”
A senior corporation official said: “We are also trying to help kiosk owners find the right place to operate their business. However, illegal and bogus operators will have to go as we are thoroughly checking their papers. Kiosks will be demolished if their owners cannot provide valid documents.”
The corporation and the public works department’s joint survey was necessitated as several issues of such kiosks encroaching upon government land and blocking development projects arose in many recent meetings of the city management group.
Wherever public works department officials went to remove encroachments for road expansion or construction of footpaths and cycle tracks, these vendors stalled work by moving court.
The officials saidthey were bound to take up this issue with the city management group.
Traffic police officials also complained that they had been facing problems managing vehicular flow at many places because of these kiosks.
“Whenever we asked the booth owners to relocate, they moved court,” said a traffic official.
Mishra said some of the existing booths violated norms and the owners opposed eviction drives fearing loss of livelihood.
“After the survey, we will provide them with alternative land or relocate them assuring them of livelihood. We are undertaking this activity taking various future development projects into consideration,” said Mishra.
Some booth owners said they always opposed eviction drives as the authorities never considered rehabilitating them.
“The survey will help to identify genuine licensed booth owners. The authorities should act against those who dare to illegally expand their areas or set up more structures with the help of only one licence,” said Sukant Behera, an Omfed kiosk owner at Chandrasekharpur.