That hot cup of tea, crisp omelette and spicy chaat will soon be off city roads. With the Commonwealth Games barely a month away, both the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) and the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) have started cracking down on illegal roadside eateries, including tea stalls, chaat corners and snacks sellers.
As the clean up exercise begins on city roads, civic workers on Thursday were seen on the roads in the NDMC area removing unnecessary material, including concrete tiles. “Action has already started on a number of stretches leading to the Games venue, including Vikas Marg, Paharganj, Khel Gaon and Vasant Kunj.
We have to make the area clean and clear it of all encroachments to ensure smooth passage for visitors,” said V.K. Monga, chairman, Public health committee, MCD. A number of vendors have already been told by the civic agency to wrap up their belongings and clear the space.
“MCD officials told us that a special drive will begin by September 15, wherein all roadside eateries and stalls that don’t have requisite licences will be removed,” said an unlicensed tea stall owner at Connaught Place, who did not wish to be named. “Our enforcement team has started taking action and all illegal vendors will have to go,” said Anand Tiwari, spokesman of NDMC.
The MCD claims that unlike the licensed eateries, where food is cooked in a covered space and with proper sanitation facilities, the unlicensed ones are unhygienic. Though it is clearly a step taken keeping in mind the impending Games, some civic agency officials claim it is a routine exercise, which was long overdue. “The Supreme Court has also imposed a ban on street cooking, keeping hygiene in mind. We are simply ensuring that,” said a senior MCD official.
The MCD has already removed a number of eateries in and around various Games venues and sites. “The drive has started with a few areas and will soon cover the entire city. We intend to remove all such illegal stalls and eateries by the end of September,” added the official.