Police have clamped down on shops selling raw and cooked eggs in Vidhyadhar Nagar in their drive against anti-social elements who consume alcohol at the stalls.
The result: In the last few months, it’s easier to find live chickens in shops than eggs.
“In the last three months, police have driven out vendors who used to set up stalls selling fried eggs or omelettes. Police told us that anti-social elements come to egg shops and consume alcohol. Around 15-20 vendors have left Vidhyadhar Nagar,” said Zakir Ali, a vendor.
When HT contacted Chiranji Lal Meena, Vidhyadhar Nagar police station house officer, he disconnected the phone saying he was busy.
“We received information that there are some shops in the interior of Vidhyadhar Nagar where people consume alcohol with eggs; often liquor is served by shops,” said deputy commissioner of police (north) Anshuman Bhomia. “We received complaints that many of these people were involved in anti-social activities and that’s why we targeted those shops that aided them.”
Ali now earns his livelihood by selling boiled chicken. “Police often come to my shop to see whether I am selling eggs. Surprisingly, they don’t have any problem with chicken but has this bizarre logic that selling of eggs encourages alcoholism and anti-social activities,” he said.
Dairy owners have also been told not to sell raw eggs. “The police come to check whether we are selling raw eggs. They ask us ‘Doodh ki dairy mein ando ka kya kaam? (What business do eggs have in a dairy where milk is sold?)’ That’s why we aren’t able to sell eggs regularly and when we do, we hide them somewhere in the shop and don’t display over open racks,” a dairy owner told HT on condition of anonymity.
“All shops and stalls have been issued orders to close sharp at 10pm. One day, I was five minutes late, when policemen came to my shop and broke the light bulb. If they find vehicles lying unattended in the road, cops start deflating the tyres,” said Salim Khan, another shopkeeper.
Curbs on egg sale have caused inconvenience to residents. “I mostly come to Jaipur on weekends and it’s my habit to apply eggs on hair for nourishment,” said Shruti Jain.
“I belong to a vegetarian family and bringing eggs home is a difficult task, but I manage it in the name of hair care. But when my father told me about the ban on eggs in Vidhyadhar Nagar, I thought he was making an excuse so that I avoid using eggs, but it turned out to be true. I had to go to Jhotwara (around 7km away) to buy eggs.”
Bhomia said police told the vendors’ association that there were no restrictions on egg sale in central areas of the locality. When HT told him that egg stalls have disappeared from Vidhyadhar Nagar, he said, “I will look into the matter if such is the case.”
Leader of Opposition in Rajasthan Assembly, Rameshwar Dudi strongly criticised the ban, saying the way it has been implemented is unjustified.
“Governments at both the state and Centre are promoting egg consumption... spending crores of funds on advertisement to encourage egg consumption. On the contrary, a police official in the city is putting a ban on its sale. The move is unjustified,” he said and demanded action against the guilty after a probe.
State home minister Gulab Chand Kataria said he was not aware of any such ban and promised to “get it checked”.