South corp to cap food carts at 5 per ward, issue licences
The BJP-ruled South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) on Thursday proposed to provide permanent licences to five smart food eateries, including food trucks, vans, e-carts in each municipal ward in its jurisdiction, officials said.
The opposition AAP criticised the move, saying the scheme will lead to chaos on roads.
The SDMC House passed the proposal on Thursday, with the officials saying that a policy will be drafted to fix licence fee and lay down other modalities.
“Keeping in view the revenue of the corporation as well as employment avenues in 104 wards in the jurisdiction of SDMC, it is proposed that a licence process for selling and serving food items through e-food cart, food truck and bus as well as having new restaurants ideas of these types (such as aeroplane, train, double-decked bus) be issued… lands of corporations and other institutions lying vacant can be put to good use,” the proposal passed by SDMC read. It was moved by BJP councillor from Malviya Nagar, Nandini Sharma.
Sharma said the scheme is at a “nascent stage” and its modalities are yet to be worked out. “It will be a good source of income to the corporation,” she said.
Speaking on the condition of anonymity, a senior SDMC official said applicants will have to produce a no-objection-certificate (NOC) from the traffic department at the time of application to ensure that the cart or food truck will not hinder traffic movement in the area.
“We will take all necessary steps to keep the application process hassle-free. While issuing licences we will also make sure that such eateries do not become a traffic nuisance. The civic body’s licensing department will be the only authority to issue the permit,” the official said.
Narendra Chawla, leader of the House in SDMC, said the scheme is aimed at promoting self-employment among people and that the corporation will “organise” such eateries that are running illegally. “Such food vans or e-food carts are already operating illegally in many areas of the city. They do not have any kind of permit and hence create chaos on roads. Under this scheme, we aim to resolve this problem and legalise and organise such food joints. We will cap the number of such carts to five per ward, so it does not create chaos in the area. Plus, SDMC will also get additional revenue with this move,” Chawla said.
Reacting to the proposal, senior Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Saurabh Bharadwaj said the initiative will only lead to chaos on streets. He also alleged that the civic body has given “power of issuing licence to councillors” which would lead to corruption.
“Before leaving the MCD, the BJP wants to monetise every inch of land in the city. The BJP-ruled MCD is trying to set up permanent restaurants on all the land available under its jurisdiction. A condition of the scheme is that permission for these restaurants can be taken from the local councillor. This is ample indication that the BJP-ruled MCD is trying to give absolute powers to the local councillor so that he or she can earn crores of money,” Bharadwaj alleged.
He further said that earlier the central government had formulated the Street Vendors’ Protection Act. As per this law, the authorities were to identify all street vendors and issue licences for shops in their respective zones but that did not happen, Bharadwaj said.
Reacting to the allegations, Chawla stressed that there will be no chaos on roads as applicants will have to get a NoC from the traffic department.
“The AAP is levelling baseless allegations. It has now become their habit that they start a negative propaganda as soon as we try to start something good. The allegations of councillors issuing licences is not true. Licensing process will be online. Councillors can only give recommendations for setting up carts or food vans in their areas,” Chawla said.