Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Powerplay over sealing of fruit shops

Published Date: 12/6/2009
G Saravanan

Chennai, June 11: IN what could have been a clear case of double standards in the functioning of Chennai Corporation, a senior official overruled a subordinate officer’s action to seal shops found selling artificially ripened mangoes using calcium carbide stones in Koyambedu. According to sources, a team of health officials from Corporation’s Zone-V (Kilpauk) recently inspected several fruit shops located inside the Koyambedu main fruit market to check the reported sales of artificially ripened mangoes. After the inspection, the officials collected samples of mangoes from those shops to ‘verify’ if they were artificially ripened.

Based on the verification report, an official linked to the civic body’s health department ordered sealing of five shops for selling ‘artificially ripened mangoes’ two days ago. Ironically, another senior official in the zone overturned the sealing order and allowed reopening of those shops the very next day.

The turnaround came after a group of fruit vendors from Koyambedu fruit market ‘successfully negotiated’ with the senior official and giving their version of the sequence of events happened from inspection till sealing of shops. When contacted, the health official concerned said they did go on an inspection at Koyambedu fruits market few days ago but denied of any such overruling by another senior official in the artificially ripened mangoes case.

However, the official who actually overturned the sealing orders of health official confirmed that indeed those shops were ordered to seal initially for selling artificially ripened mangoes. “After a meeting with fruit vendors representing those shop owners, we were satisfied with their answers, and so we asked our officials to unseal them,”the official added. When asked how it was possible, the official explained that the shops, which were sealed, were empty that time (of sealing) and added that there was no point in sealing empty shops. The shops selling artificially ripened mangoes were reportedly full of stock when they were inspected few days ago, but during the action it was found empty.

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