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    Traders block road to oppose CMC raids

    CUTTACK: The Cuttack Municipal Corporation’s (CMC) efforts to enforce the polythene ban in the city on Thursday was stonewalled by a section of traders who allegedly manhandled the officials and blocked the road at Pithapur.The civic body has now decided to draw the attention of the Orissa High Court, which has directed strict enforcement of the ban in the city, as well as take the help of Commissionerate police while conducting future raids.A team of CMC officials led by assistant health officer Dr PK Pradhan on Wednesday launched a raid on unscrupulous establishments dealing in banned recycled polythene packs and bags. When they swooped on a shop of one Bhramarlal Sethia and attempted to seize the polythene stock, the shop owner allegedly feigned illness. The team then decided against proceeding with the raid and was coming out when they were accosted by a mob of local traders. The mob manhandled about four officials and then resorted to a road blockade in the locality protesting CMC action.According to sources, Sethia had no valid trading license and was unscrupulously dealing in banned polythene. In a raid last year, huge quantity of polythene materials was seized from his shop. Sethia had allegedly adopted similar tactics of falling ill.Commissioner Rabi Narayan Nanda said, a complaint has been lodged with Purighat police. The Commissionerate police has also been approached to extend assistance during raids in future.“The Polythene Ban Monitoring Committee comprising Mayor S Ghosh, High Court appointed Advocates Committee and others would meet on Monday to discuss the situation. A detailed report would be submitted in the High Court,” Nanda said. The CMC had, in a bid to rid the city of the polythene menace, had enforced a total ban on use and sale of the substances from June 5 this year. Along with asking traders, shops and business establishments to desist from using polythene and adopting alternatives like paper bags, net cotton and jute bags, the civic body has been conducting awareness campaigns against use of the hazardous substances among the people.“The awareness level has gone up significantly in the last two months. Many shops, even the neighbourhood vegetable outlets are asking people to get their own bags”, said Shiv Kumar Gupta, a resident of Station Bazaar.