So it seems MiD DAY’s surprise reality check has had some effect on food stall vendors of Juhu Chowpatty after all. When this paper ran a spot check last week, most of them were working without gloves, masks and caps. But when we paid them a visit in the evening of July 20, most workers and food handlers were wearing all the safety equipment.
But will the Juhu Beach Khadya Peey Vikreta Sahakari Society ensure that this habit is continued hereafter? “Yes,” said the secretary Ramchandra Shivram Kadam. “The society has strictly warned workers in all the food stalls and we will do our best to see that everyone complies with the rules. We will be stationing three to four members of our society to supervise the stalls,” he said.
He added that the society has decided to levy a fine of R500 on offenders and that it will be strictly followed. “If anyone is found to be working without the safety gear, they will be fined R500. Even if one person is punished, everyone will be careful,” said Kadam.
However, authorities and food stall vendors argue that there are some activities that cannot be done efficiently and quickly with the gloves on.
Subramaniam Bharati, brother of the chairman of the society, said, “When they mash the vegetables while making Pav Bhaji, their hand slips from the vegetable masher, and so it is practically difficult to do the job fast. Also, there is a possibility of the gloves getting stuck to the tawa. But otherwise while mixing and serving they should wear it and henceforth, they will.”
Another food stall vendor said, “It is impossible to dice vegetables fast with the gloves on. And we cannot keep the customers waiting, so it is a practical difficulty.”
When asked about the sudden change that the food stall vendors have undergone, Manojkumar Gupta, owner of Chandan Lakshmi Pav Bhaji stall said, “Sometimes mistakes tend to happen and we accept that. We will have to follow all the rules now, as the society has decided to impose a fine. We cannot risk that.”
Rameshchand Sharma, a food stall owner said, “We will be more careful henceforth.”