They were banned in April after the outbreak of cholera and swine flu
Close on the heels of cholera and swine flu outbreak in Mysore, the city corporation has decided to set up a separate zone for food vendors.
The corporation had earlier in April, banned food vending in the city after the outbreak of the two diseases. Vendors protested this.
“There were reported cases of cholera and H1N1 and many more suspected cases of viral infections. We are now arranging for proper drinking water by super-chlorinating it and providing door-to-door health education. We have found a decline in the number of cases since then” says Nagaraja TS, health officer with Mysore City Corporation.
But the flipside is that until the street vendors are regulated, they cannot set shop in the city. The corporation has now started registration of the street vendors. It was made compulsory under the Food Safety and Standards Regulations of 2011, which came into force from August 5, 2011. All food vendors should be registered with appropriate authorities, who include designated officer, food safety officer, any official of panchayat, municipal corporation or any other local body in the area, as notified by the state food safety commissioner. The regulations are a part of the Food Safety and Standards Act of 2006.
“There are 4,000 street food vendors in Mysore of whom only 1,200 have submitted their applications for registration. Until they are registered, they cannot set up their stalls,” says Vinod Simon, programme manager of the National Association of Street Vendors of India (NASVI).
This is the case across India. In most of parts of the country, authorities have not taken steps to register vendors. There are around 1.2 crore street vendors in India. The Mysore City Corporation, too, has started registering vendors only after the protests. “We have already started the process of registration and hope to finish it by the end of this month” says B K Suresh Babu, superintending engineer with Mysore City Corporation.
The registration of the first lot of applicants is likely to be completed by April 25 after which they can get back to business. The other street vendors are in the process of applying for registration.
Members of NASVI say they are not against regulations. “We too want to provide hygienic food to people but supply of proper drinking water and cleanliness on streets are not in our hands. The corporation or the governing body should take the responsibility and provide us the facilities,” adds Simon. NASVI has been leading the protests.