NEW DELHI: From exclusive hawker zones
to strict vending timings, from sanitized
(potato cutlets) to clean cutlery, the street food culture of
Delhi is all set for a "clean" makeover with the rest of the country to follow
In the capital, it's probably time to say goodbye to all those
small time snacks like
gol guppa, samosas,
the road, which the city had begun to be identified with.
Supreme Court's acceptance of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi's (MCD) scheme
for regularized urban street vendors, the bustling roads and pedestrian lanes of
Delhi, thanks to the street food vendors, will finally get a breather.
This move will also ensure that the cauldron of flies and
innumerable germs that the street fare hosts will be done away with. Health
problems like cholera and jaundice from the unclean water used by the street
food vendors has always been a major concern among the people.
vending sites and fixed timings for selling, which could be changed depending on
the weather conditions, will be implemented. The Supreme Court has, however,
asked the MCD to re-consider timings as far as the railway and the bus stands
are concerned since these places remain busy all the time.
timings for vendors to enter residential colonies will be fixed after
consultation with the residents welfare associations. The timing for vendors in
general has been fixed from eight in the morning to nine at
While approving the scheme on Thursday, the apex court
directed the civic agencies to strictly maintain the width of the footpath up to
five feet for pedestrians before allotting any site for vending.
move, has, but obviously, not gone down well with the vendors with most
complaining that it will hit their livelihood badly. A vendor selling
in Old Delhi said that this is
his lifeline and most rickshaw pullers nearby depended on his fare as
"I survive on the street food because I simply can't afford
anything else," said a rickshaw puller. "I earn about Rs.100 a day of which half
goes in paying for rent of the rickshaw, so I survive on the roadside
," he added.
known for its street food. Frankly I can't imagine eating
dripping with saline mineral
water," said Pankhi Singha, a student and a self proclaimed street food fan.
But for others, it is a welcome move. "Finally there will be some
order on the roads of Delhi," said Amrita Sharma, a law student. "On one hand we
are trying to become a global city and on the other we have maddening traffic,
choked roads and no lanes to walk. Moreover, maintenance of minimum standard of
hygiene is of utmost importance," she said.
Welcoming the apex
court's nod of approval, Vijendra Gupta, chairman of the MCD standing committee,
said this decision would help nearly 250,000 people earn a livelihood without
In a statement released Thursday, Gupta said that
MCD gives licenses to hawkers and a survey carried out by an NGO, Manushi,
revealed that unlicensed hawkers get exploited by policemen and municipal
employees who extract money from them. Hence this policy will help protect those
hawkers from getting exploited.
It also said that "the benefit of the
hawking policy will be given to those which are carrying out hawking at present
and it will be ensured that in future their number shall not increase so that
city-planning of Delhi is not disturbed".
While the capital gears up
for the makeover, the rest of the country is not far behind.
Suvrathan, secretary of ministry of food processing industries, announced that a
pilot project enforcing bureau of Indian standards (BIS) norms on street food
will be launched in eight cities including Delhi, Mumbai and
Targetting 6,000 vendors in each of the cities, to begin
with, the project aims to have vendors follow certain minimum standards in food
preparation, which will ensure basic hygiene.
From washing their
hands to washing the used cutlery properly to ensuring only clean water is used
for cooking and even a standard size of serving is maintained, the norms will
ensure the hygiene factor.
"Only after all these standards are met,
the vendors will get accreditation," said Suvrathan. Since training the vendors,
most of who are illiterate, is a mammoth task, NGOs will be roped in for the
task. This will help the vendors file their application for accreditation with