Roadside cooking by eateries amid clouds of dust raises concerns

An eatery opposite to Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Government Hospital in Tiruchi on Saturday.

An eatery opposite to Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Government Hospital in Tiruchi on Saturday. | Photo Credit: M. MOORTHY

Preparation of food by street vendors and small eateries in open places amid clouds of dust licked up by the ongoing underground drainage works in several parts of the city poses a serious health hazard to consumers.

The city is known for its roadside eateries and their number have registered a manifold increase in recent years. They continue to grow every month due to good patronage by people from all walks of life. Barring a few, several of them fail to follow hygienic standards. Some of them function on the roadside, atop drainages. In spite of several shortcomings on hygienic aspects, “cheap and home-style cooking” lure many customers to the roadside eateries.

But, the preparation of food by the eateries amid dust from vehicular movement and dug-up roads for the underground drainage works has raised serious and genuine concern over the health of regular customers.

Nearly 50% of streets and roads in the city have been brought under the UGD work map. To lay sewage mains and manholes several roads, including Thennur high road, Puthur road and Woraiyur main road, are dug up, thereby forcing buses, lorries, cars and two-wheelers to ply on mud roads. It kicks up a thick cloud of dust in the air whenever buses and other vehicles cross the roads. But, several roadside eateries do not seem to bother about the ill-effects of it and continue to prepare parotta, dosa, omelette and other items in open places.

The parotta masters (cooks) keep the dough for hours together on tables close to the cooking pans, which are invariably set up on public space. It is clearly observed that dust particles settle on food items before and after their preparation. However, unmindful of the health hazards, people continue to dine at roadside eateries. There is also a concern that the health authorities have failed to take steps to enforce safety and hygienic protocols for the eateries.

K. Sridharan, a gastroenterologist in the city, says eating food item that are exposed to dust particles may lead to various ill-effects.. Besides issues such as abdominal cavity and gastroenteritis, the risk of contracting water-borne diseases is high as the dust particles may contain sewage or contaminated stuff.

It is important to educate the people on the health hazards posed by unhygienic food. The eateries should also be sensitised on the issue, Dr. Sridharan adds.

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Printable version | Sep 20, 2022 11:14:05 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Tiruchirapalli/roadside-cooking-by-eateries-amid-clouds-of-dust-raises-concerns/article65703629.ece