The eating of ‘mirchi bajji' and ‘punugu' is integral part of city life, and they can be found at most roadside eateries. One can't but notice these mouth watering snacks from their wonderful aroma even if one is driving about like a bat out of hell. Every time we make a mental note: Must stop there to eat next time I pass by, but only some time do we worry about the hygiene. The conditions in which they are made and served are often appalling.

But, next time, pull over. You might be surprised by what you find at these roadside eateries that are going to be soon replaced by regular, hygienic food kiosks. The swarming flies and filth strewn all around may be a thing of past. The Vijayawada Municipal Corporation (VMC) is focussing on cleanliness, type of construction, surroundings, mode of disposal of waste, type of cooking and drinking water facilities at the roadside eateries.

The VMC is planning to regularise the roadside eateries and food joints. The availability of hygienic food at roadside eateries is of utmost importance from the health point of view.

The status of their upkeep and maintenance apart from cleanliness needs to be looked into, as food contamination may lead to dysentery, cholera and jaundice, says Municipal Commissioner G. Ravi Babu.

The Corporation is planning to replace the roadside eateries with food kiosks under Public Private Partnership (PPP) mode. The kiosks would have an oven, safe drinking water, and would be adequately illuminated. And, cooking area will also be provided at the kiosks, if required, he says.

The kiosks would be handed over to the vendors, and a nominal rent would be collected from them for the facilities provided.

The project would be implemented on a pilot basis on Besant Road, and would be extended to entire city in a phased manner.

According to a rough estimate, there are about 500 roadside eateries in the city. Most of these are functioning from unhygienic places, or throwing the waste into side drains or onto road. Providing banks loans to the vendors is also one of the features of the project, he adds.

More In: Vijayawada