NASVI condemns Aam Aadmi Canteen Scheme

Will take away livelihood of thousand of vendors

Infrastructure, recognition and training for existing street food vendors is better model

Delhi 17.7.2015   NASVI strongly condemns Delhi govt’s move, to provide subsidized meals through Aam Aadmi Canteen scheme, which will affect, rather ruin, the livelihood of thousands of street food vendors of Delhi. It will prove to be a major setback for these food vendors who provide a hearty meal to working class that includes labourers, students and caregivers of patients in govt hospitals apart from thousands of vendors in the city at a very reasonable rate. According to an estimate there are 10-15 lakhs construction workers and labourers in the city. Apart from that there are 4.2 lakh people in the slums and 5 lakh street vendors. The livelihood of street food vendors depends on catering to this population. After the implementation of this ill-thought scheme, these street food vendors will be robbed of their only source of income which will ultimately result in their families being starved to death.

It is to be noted that such attempts, to provide meals at subsidized rate, by the previous govts have miserably failed as those schemes were either restricted to select spots or the quality of food was very poor and hygiene was not being maintained due to lax monitoring. Now what is the guarantee that under this scheme these facts will be taken care of?  NASVI smells rat in this move of the govt. It’s quite sure that not only this scheme will fail to deliver the desired result but will also ruin the livelihood of thousand of street food vendors of the city.

Street food vendors  provide good quality meals at reasonably fair rates despite being continuously harassed by municipal authorities and police alike. They are quite popular in their respective areas and are serving the people since a long time. Where will they go after the implementation of the scheme?

Geeta Gupta is one such street food vendor who runs her food thela in the Kalyanpuri area of East Delhi. One can have his/her lunch or dinner dishing out only Rs 15-20. Her eatery is quite popular in the area and is well appreciated for its tasty as well as cheap meals. Let’s have a look of what she provides and for how much –

4 puris, sabzi – Rs 10

Chole-rice – Rs 10

Chole-bhature –Rs 20

Vasudeo Sahni runs his eatery in Acharya Niketan, Mayur Vihar (phase I). One can assess his eatery’s popularity for a tasty as well as cheap meal by a mere visit to the place during lunch hours. People can be seen queuing up for their turns though the number is not that great at dinner time. Just have a look at the rates he serves meals for:

5 chapatis, sabzi — Rs 20

Rice (full plate), sabzi – Rs 20

Rice (full plate), fish – Rs 30

5 chapatis, chicken – Rs 30

Tika Ram runs his food thela at B-2, Madanpur Khadar, south east Delhi. Ask any labourer or local vendors for a good and cheap meal, he will direct you towards Tika Ram’s thela as he is quite popular in that area. He offers a tasty and cheap meal at a fairly affordable rate. Just see his rates—

3 chapatis, two sabzis and raita – Rs 25

Chole bhature – Rs 20

Another such vendor is Mali Gupta, near Sarojini Ngr market. He offers a meal of 4 chapatis and sabzi with raita at Rs 20. He is quite popular among the shopkeepers of the area for his food is quite tasty and he maintains good hygiene.

These are the rates offered by food vendors after paying ‘hafta’ to police and municipal officials and after periodic confiscation of goods and their carts, leading to payment of challans.

What crime these street food vendors have committed that this so-called pro-poor govt is planning to ruin their livelihood?

NASVI is of the opinion that instead of introducing such a scheme, if these street food vendors are provided proper infrastructure and training by the govt,they can certainly provide much better and cheaper meals to the poor citizens of the city. This will be a major step that will serve two purposes at a time – poor will get good quality food at cheaper rates and the livelihood of these street food vendors will not be ruined.They need recognition and encouragement from this so-called pro-poor govt but instead are getting such a harsh treatment in the form of Aam Aadmi Canteen Scheme.

NASVI, as usual, plans to raise the voices of these street food vendors and will protest and fight tooth and nail against the govt’s move to implement such a scheme.

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