Demanding standardisation of quantity and quality of food served at low-budget restaurants, several members of the Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) gathered to protest the increasing prices of food at eateries in Mangalore on Monday.

Addressing protesters at Urva Stores, B.K. Imtiaz, City president of the organisation, said the prices of tea, dosas, chappatis, and other food items here were exponentially higher than that in neighbouring States, while the price and quantity served varied from restaurant to restaurant.

“The rents are going higher in the city, and the poor have to live far away. Bus fares have increased making it difficult for them to traverse. And now, the prices of food at hotels are also high, and many have to give up on food…restaurant owners should realise that they’re running a social enterprise and not one for exorbitant profits,” he said, adding that the government has done little to stop price rise.

Urva Stores area was chosen as the place for protest as there were numerous hotels nearby where the poor, and daily-wage labourers ate.

“Karnataka and Mangalore in particular should start schemes for subsidy hotels. Kerala has mobile restaurants (Maveli hotels) and Tamil Nadu has Amma Kitchen which sell food at subsidised prices that can be afforded by the poor. Even Karnataka should start a scheme like this,” said Mr. Imtiaz.

They urged the Deputy Commissioner to ensure a regulatory system – much like the one that sees bus ticket rates being controlled to ensure travel does not become unaffordable for the economically backward – and a meeting between citizens and hotel owners to chalk out solutions.

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