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DESPITE SUPREME COURT ORDER ZUNKA BHAKAR FOOD STALLS STILL FLOURISH IN THE CITY

zunka-bhakar-4The Supreme Court has disallowed a petition of Mumbai Zunka-Bhakar stall owners seeking continuance of their stalls. Before we bring to you an insight on the orders, let’s first take a look at what is the zunka-bhakar scheme that was started during the Shiv Sena-BJP. The zunka-bhakar scheme was introduced in May 1995 by the Shiv Sena-BJP government. As part of the scheme zunka-bhakar stalls were set up all over the state for providing a staple diet at subsidised rates to the public. The stalls sold a plate of zunka-bhakar (a bowl of zunka and two pieces of bhakar) at the rate of Re 1.Additionally, in all areas except the Mumbai Municipal Corporation Area, the state would give the stall owners a subsidy of Re 1 per plate for each plate sold. The stalls were constructed on land allotted by the state government to the stall owners. However, with most of the stall owners not following the very purpose of their establishment, the Congress government passed a ruling against them, which has been upheld by the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court has dismissed a petition by Mumbai stall owners seeking continuance. Earlier the High Court had approved the Congress-Nationalist Congress Party government’s decision to discontinue the zunka bhakar scheme. The association of about 50 zunka-bhakar stall owners had challenged the June 2000 Bombay High Court order in Supreme Court. However, now even the Supreme Court has dismissed the plea of the zunka bhakar stall owners. With the SC order, they will have to vacate the stall. The Congress-NCP government decided to discontinue the scheme saying that the stalls were not performing their function in accordance with the scheme. The state claimed it noticed 3,954 irregularities in running of the stalls during inspection. Among its complaints, the state government said the stall owners had hiked the price of the zunka-bhakar stalls and were also selling sift drinks. In the stall that Navi Mumbai News visited, the scenario was no different. As is seen, the zunka bhakar stalls are mini fast food restaurants with most of them lent out by the real owners to others for a rent of Rs. 20, 000 per month. According to norms, if any owner does this, his stall is to be closed with immediate effect. The same was reiterated by ward officer of Vashi.

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