The city’s civic authority is set to take a leaf out of Bangkok’s street-food culture to help operators of ‘pice’ hotels and roadside kiosks inculcate better hygiene practices. It plans to then grade the vendors and award certificates to act as incentives to improve th-eir standards.
Kolkata Municipal Corporation deputy mayor Atin Ghosh, who also looks after the health department, recently visited Bangkok with a civic team to study how the food vendors there operated and what had earned them the ‘world’s best street food’ tag. Although Ghosh felt Kolkata’s diverse street food could rival the Thai dishes on offer in Bangkok, the latter scored head and shoulders above the city in hygiene.
“The vendors in Bangkok keep surroundings clean. They clean their utensils in three steps, in sinks that have a separate water source,” a KMC official said, adding that the vendors there were also more conscious about personal hygiene than their counterparts in Kolkata.
While KMC plans to rope in NGOs to conduct street-vendor workshops on improved hygiene practices, it will begin a fortnight-long survey on food hawkers in Kolkata to count their number, check how hygienic they are and identify water sources in hubs like Dalhousie, Camac Street, Theatre Road and Gariahat. A survey in 2015 had pegged the number of food vendors in Kolkata at 16,000.
“We will evaluate the vendors where the best will get grade-A certificates and so on. The vendors can display the certificates at their stalls as advertisement. It will act as an incentive for them to upgrade themselves,” the official said.
Bangkok’s street food is rated by popular travel magazine Lonely Planet as among the best in the world. Bangkok had confronted the need to control health hazards, litter, effluent disposal, pollution and obstruction of pedestrian traffic at first. In 1994, national and local authorities in Thailand developed a project to improve safety of street food. They assessed quality and safety and developed a 10-point code for vendors. To keep following the rulebook, regular inspections were carried out.
Source: Times of India